Questions have been raised about the authenticity of a valuable and historically important painting, Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross
. And the debate about the painting is tangled up in a controversy about the so-called Eureka Flag
, which is believed to be the precursor to Australia's current national flag.
Story in Brief:
The Eureka Flag rose to prominence in the mid-20th Century, at which time it became a symbol of Australian nationalism. But questions lingered about its authenticity as a precursor to the current flag. Then, in 1996, the 'Swearing Allegiance' painting was discovered in someone's attic. It was said to have been painted by a Quebec artist-adventurer, Charles Doudiet, in the mid-nineteenth century, and it showed a scene from the Eureka Rebellion of 1854, in which Doudiet was said to have participated. More importantly, it showed the Eureka Flag. Thus, if the painting was real, the flag's history was also genuine.
But recently an anonymous source contacted The Sunday Age
alleging the painting was a fake. A tip from an anonymous source doesn't seem like much to go on. But apparently there's almost no information about this Charles Doudiet, even though he supposedly was a pivotal figure in the Eureka rebellion. Also, the painting was never forensics tested. The Ballarat Gallery, which owns the painting, has promised it's going to look into the matter. Links: The Sunday Age
, Vancouver Sun