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Article

Judith O’Callaghan

(b London, June 14, 1869; d Perth, Aug 29, 1947).

Australian silversmith, jeweller, woodworker and painter of English birth. His father was the watercolourist Sir James Dromgole Linton (1840–1916). Having trained as a painter and architect in London, he travelled to Western Australia in 1896 and began practising metalwork after settling in Perth; he was appointed head of the art department of Perth Technical School in 1902. Following a trip to London in 1907, when he attended classes at the Sir John Cass Technical Institute under Harold Stabler, he concentrated on producing metalwork. Working in partnership with Arthur Cross, William Andrews and his own son Jamie Linton (1904–80), he produced ecclesiastical and domestic wares, presentation pieces and jewellery. His designs were influenced by British Arts and Crafts metalwork and were bold and simple, with decoration generally confined to hammered surfaces, twisted wire, hardstones and enamels. A highly influential figure in Perth’s artistic community and an energetic teacher, Linton played an important role in the promotion of crafts in Western Australia....

Article

Joanna Mendelssohn

[Sid]

(b Goulburn, NSW, Aug 20, 1871; d London, Jan 25, 1955).

Australian painter and printmaker. In the early 1890s, while studying art part-time at the Art Society of New South Wales at Sydney, he attracted the attention of Julian Rossi Ashton, then head teacher. In 1894 his first major painting, By Tranquil Waters (1894), a river-bathing scene in a self-conscious Impressionist style, was purchased by the National Art Gallery of New South Wales. In the next 15 years he painted increasingly decorative works, emphasizing the flatness of the picture-plane and adopting a narrow tonal range of moody blues and grey–greens. In his subject-matter he tried to create a specifically Australian myth. His most important painting, Spirit of the Plains (1897; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), shows a female bush spirit leading her brolgas in a dance. His favourite painting, Pan (1898; Sydney, A.G. NSW), transposes European mythology to an Australian setting of rhythmically decorative gum trees. His distinctive use of decorative vegetation remained the principal characteristic of his style....

Article

Bridget Whitelaw

(Campbell)

(b Clunes, Victoria, March 10, 1861; d Melbourne, Oct 1, 1941).

Australian painter. From 1882 he studied at the Art School of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, where he was awarded the first travelling scholarship in 1887 for a sentimental narrative painting, Breaking the News (Perth, A.G. W. Australia). He left for Paris in 1887, studying at Fernand Cormon’s studio and the Académie Colarossi. While in France, Longstaff visited his compatriot John Peter Russell at Belle Ile in 1889 and was influenced briefly by the latter’s ‘impressionist’ style. Certain works by Longstaff from this period, such as Lady in Grey (1890; Melbourne, N.G. Victoria), reveal the influence of Whistler and the Aesthetic movement, as well as the portraiture of Velázquez, which he had studied in Spain for three months. While the bulk of his oeuvre was portraiture, his large allegorical work The Sirens (Melbourne, N.G. Victoria) was acclaimed at the Salon of 1892 in Paris and at the Royal Academy, London, in ...

Article

Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Melbourne, June 1863; d Devon, England, Oct 1931).

Australian sculptor, active in Britain. He studied at the National Gallery of Victoria School in Melbourne from 1878 to 1882 and then on the suggestion of the English sculptor Marshall Wood (d 1882) he travelled to London, where he spent three months at the Royal Academy Schools in 1883. Finding the training there too academic Mackennal left and visited Paris and Rome, and in 1884 he set up a studio in Paris. He was helped financially by John Peter Russell, who also introduced him to Auguste Rodin. Mackennal found Rodin’s work too revolutionary for his own tastes but did adopt aspects of Rodin’s sensuous subject-matter. Also in Paris he met Alfred Gilbert, who advised him that his work would be better appreciated in England. In 1886 Mackennal became the head of the modelling and design department at the Coalport Potteries, Salop, England, and in 1887 he won the competition to design two relief panels for the façade of the ...

Article

Deidre Brown

Maori architecture began as a unique response by Polynesian settlers to a much larger landscape and cooler climate than that of their Pacific Islands homelands. Succeeding generations developed inherited building types to suit contemporaneous social, political, spiritual, technological, and economic needs. The best-known ancestral narrative about Maori architecture’s origins comes from the Ngati Porou tribe. It identifies the underwater house Huiteananui that belonged to the god of the sea Tangaroa as the first to be fully embellished with stone tool-made wood-carvings. When some of these wood-carvings were taken to the mortal, terrestrial world they became the models for all subsequent house carvings made by specialist tohunga whakairo (carving experts).

Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest Maori habitations, which have been dated to the 13th century, were whare puni, simple thatched gable sleeping houses that were low to the ground and probably unadorned. They had internal fireplaces that were ventilated through wall apertures (which evolved into windows in the historic period) and were designed to shelter small groups of sitting or reclining people. Unlike their antecedents in tropical Polynesia, many of these early houses had front porches, which were likely to have been places of industry and discussion, and certainly moderating zones between the mild New Zealand climate and smoky, dark interiors....

Article

The Stone Age in New Zealand ended abruptly in 1769, when Captain James Cook’s Endeavour introduced iron artefacts to the culture of the indigenous Maori. Lucky individuals traded for tomahawks and nails; others less fortunate experienced being shot by devices that totally transcended the familiar wooden and stone weapons. These latter artefacts in turn proved desirable ‘curiosities’ for the European visitors, so that Cook-provenanced artefacts came to represent an ethnographic line drawn between an idealized ‘before’ and ‘after’ European contact—despite such ‘contact’ spanning decades, if not an entire century. Several preserved human heads were obtained on the voyages, inaugurating a macabre collecting craze for tattooed heads that reached its height in the 1820s before being outlawed in 1831. The work of artists such as Sydney Parkinson on Cook’s first voyage (e.g. A War Canoe of New Zealand, c. April 1770), William Hodges on the second, and John Webber on the third, together with other voyaging artists of the pre-colonial period, have been co-opted as the origins of a Pakeha (European settler) art history. The work of these travelling artists, especially portraits and documentation of ...

Article

Judith O’Callaghan

(b Scarsdale, Victoria, June 12, 1868; d Melbourne, Oct 7, 1956).

Australian enamellist, jeweller and silversmith. He trained in Melbourne under J. R. Rowland and in the late 1890s travelled to England, where he worked for a time in the London workshop of Nelson Dawson (1859–1942). By the end of 1900 he had joined C. R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft, and he subsequently moved with the Guild to Chipping Campden, Glos. Though an accomplished silversmith and jeweller, Mark’s skill lay in enamelwork. He and F. C. Varley were largely responsible for the fine painted enamels produced by the Guild. He worked independently in Chipping Campden after the Guild failed in 1907 and eventually returned to Australia in 1920. He established a studio at his home in Melbourne, where he stayed until his death. The greater part of his production comprised ecclesiastical commissions, notably the silver and enamel processional cross (designed by Louis Williams; c. 1931) of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, and the plate and fittings (...

Article

Rosemary T. Smith

(b London, 1801; d Sydney, Aug 21, 1878).

Australian painter, lithographer and librarian of English birth. Son of a London merchant, he studied c. 1816 under Copley Fielding. His training was as a watercolourist and his most important works are watercolours, although he also produced paintings in oils. His early work displays the taste then current for the Picturesque. Francis Danby, David Cox and Turner were artists he admired. Martens left for India in 1832 or 1833 but at Montevideo joined Charles Darwin’s expedition, replacing Augustus Earle as topographical draughtsman aboard the Beagle. The work strengthened his observation of detail and skill as a draughtsman. He left the expedition in October 1834 and, travelling via Tahiti and New Zealand, arrived in Sydney in April 1835. There he worked as a professional artist, in the 1840s and 1850s producing lithographic views of the Sydney area to augment his income. In 1863 he was appointed Parliamentary Librarian, which secured his finances. The skills he had acquired aboard the ...

Article

John Stacpoole

(b Ipswich, Feb 24, 1810; d Dunedin, New Zealand, June 22, 1897).

New Zealand architect of English birth. He was articled in Ipswich to his father, George Mason (1782–1865), but soon moved to London where he was a pupil of Edward Blore. After a period of practice in Ipswich during which he designed several churches (most notably St Botolph’s, Colchester, 1837–8), parsonages and poorhouses, he emigrated in 1838 to New South Wales. There he worked in the office of Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect.

In March 1840, as Superintendent of Works, he joined Lieutenant-Governor Hobson in New Zealand, where he was a key participant in the founding of Auckland. He began a private practice in Auckland in 1841 and remained there until 1862. He then moved to Dunedin where he practised until 1876, latterly with Nathaniel Young Armstrong Wales (1832–1903).

Mason exemplified the early Victorian approach to architecture; his churches were neo-Gothic, his public buildings Neo-classical, while his houses were in a late Georgian style readily adapted to colonial conditions and the preferences of the client. Old Government House (...

Article

Leigh Astbury

(b Melbourne, Feb 25, 1855; d Melbourne, Dec 20, 1917).

Australian painter and teacher. A baker’s son, he trained from 1869 at the local Artisans’ School of Design in Carlton and by 1872 was at the School of Design, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. It was not until the Munich-trained George Folingsby (1828–91) was appointed master of the Gallery Art School in 1882 that McCubbin received a thorough academic training in figure painting. Folingsby evoked McCubbin’s interest in large-scale history pieces with a pronounced national flavour. From the colonial artist and Swiss émigré Abram-Louis Buvelot, McCubbin absorbed a more intimate, Barbizon-style vision of the Australian landscape. Julian Ashton directed his attention to subjects from contemporary life and introduced him to plein-air painting. In the mid-1880s McCubbin’s growing adherence to plein-air Realism was strengthened by the influence of Portugueseborn Arthur Loureiro (1853–1912) and, more dramatically, by the impact of Tom Roberts, recently returned from Europe in 1885...

Article

Peter W. Perry

(b Edinburgh, Dec 3, 1875; d Melbourne, June 6, 1955).

Australian painter and teacher. He moved with his family in 1889 to Melbourne, where he studied art at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School under Frederick McCubbin and L. Bernard Hall (1859–1935), winning the triennial Travelling Scholarship in 1899 which enabled him to further his studies in Paris at the Académie Julian and the Académie Colarossi. However, he grew to dislike what he called the ‘ineptitude and academic conventions’ of the Paris schools and left them in order to study in ‘the school of nature’. Living at Pacé in Brittany, he exhibited with the Société des Artistes Français and was elected an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. The Bell Tower, Pacé (c. 1908; Castlemaine, A.G. & Hist. Mus.) is characteristic of his work in this period. He returned to Melbourne in 1911 and held his first solo exhibition there in 1913 at the Athenaeum Art Gallery, receiving considerable praise for his work. In ...

Article

Rosemary T. Smith

(b Port Adelaide, Australia, Feb 22, 1855; d Pangbourne, England, April 1, 1938).

British painter and etcher of Australian birth. He studied at the Adelaide School of Design with John Hood. In 1875 his family moved to London and he married. Three years later he enrolled at the South Kensington School of Design, studying with Edward John Poynter. In 1880 Menpes went on a sketching tour of Brittany and later that year met Whistler. He left art school to study informally with Whistler, learning much from him about composition and etching technique. Menpes’s reputation was soon established. He regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, was elected to the Royal Society of Painters and Etchers in 1881 and became a member of the Society of British Artists in 1885. In 1887 he began an extended journey to Japan. When he returned, his Japanese paintings formed the first of many successful one-man exhibitions; the exhibition was hold at Dowdeswell, London.

In 1900 Menpes worked as a war artist in South Africa for the ...

Article

(b Hamstead, nr Birmingham, July 12, 1812; d Melbourne, Oct 21, 1895).

English illustrator, draughtsman, writer and painter, active in Australia. She was educated at home and was taught by Thomas Lawrence to paint portrait miniatures on ivory. In 1832, at the age of 20, she earned the respect of Henry Parkes (later Premier of New South Wales, Australia) for her writings in support of the Chartist movement, begun in Birmingham in that year. In 1835 she published her first book, Poems: With Original Illustrations Drawn and Etched by the Authoress (London, 1835), and the following year wrote and illustrated The Romance of Nature or The Flower Seasons, containing 26 coloured plates engraved after her original drawings. She married her cousin Charles in 1839 and moved to Sydney, Australia, and then to Tasmania. Having attributed her botanical knowledge to a study of the works of the draughtsman and engraver James Sowerby (1757–1822), she described and illustrated the plant and animal life of Tasmania and painted landscapes and miniatures. Some of her writings are in the form of picturesque travel books accompanied by her illustrations, for example ...

Article

(b Kentish Town, London, Nov 1, 1868; d Melbourne, Jan 15, 1938).

English sculptor, active in Australia. The son of Horace Montford, Curator of Schools at the Royal Academy of Art, London, he learnt modelling from his father and drawing at the Lambeth School of Art. After studying on a Landseer and British Institute scholarship at the Royal Academy and winning a Gold Medal in 1891, he taught sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art (South-West London Polytechnic) from 1898 to 1903. He also specialized in architectural decoration, completing, for example, reliefs (1892) for Battersea Town Hall and Polytechnic and bronze figure groups (1914) for the Kelvin-Way Bridge, Glasgow. In 1912 he married Marian Alice Dibden, a portrait- and miniature painter. In 1921, attracted by the light, which he believed conducive to monumental sculpture, they travelled to Australia. Montford became very influential in the Victorian Artists’ Society, of which he was President 1930–31. He frequently used the daily press to air avant-garde opinions about the social and environmental role of sculpture in modern cities. He encouraged and assisted such emerging Australian sculptors as Lyndon Dadswell. Montford’s flamboyance, theatrical personality and Bohemian lifestyle were talking points in Melbourne society and led to more than 70 sculptural commissions, including a controversial ...

Article

Ian J. Lochhead

(b Wolverhampton, March 13, 1825; d Christchurch, March 15, 1898).

New Zealand architect of English birth. The pre-eminent Gothic Revival architect of 19th-century New Zealand, he was articled to R. C. Carpenter in 1844. From Carpenter he gained a sound knowledge of Gothic design and an understanding of ecclesiological principles, to which he adhered throughout his career. By 1848 he was practising in London. A devout Anglo-Catholic, Mountfort emigrated in 1850 to Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand, a colony promoted by the Church of England. He practised in Christchurch for the rest of his career. Mountfort’s first major commission, Holy Trinity (1852; destr. 1857), Lyttelton, was an over-ambitious, timber-framed church, which quickly deteriorated through the shrinkage of unseasoned timber. Despite this setback, he continued to design churches for the predominantly Anglican colonists, including St Bartholomew’s (1855), Kaiapoi, and St Mary’s (1863), Halswell. St Mary’s, a small, ecclesiologically correct parish church, Early English in style, picturesque in composition, with a timber frame and vertical board-and-batten sidings, became the model for Mountfort’s subsequent wooden churches. Although derived from Carpenter’s design for a timber church in the Ecclesiological Society’s ...

Article

Tony Mackle

(b Aberfoyle, nr Glasgow, Nov 18, 1859; d Wellington, Feb 22, 1904).

Scottish painter, active in New Zealand. Having trained at the Glasgow School of Art, he worked with the Glasgow Boys. He also studied at the Académie Julian in Paris during the 1880s. Both the style and the imagery of his work indicate a knowledge of Impressionist painting, particularly Monet and Camille Pissarro, as well as the work of Millet, Courbet and Bastien-Lepage. By the time he arrived in New Zealand in 1890, Nairn had developed a subdued type of plein-air realism that was concerned with light and atmosphere but not the dissolution of form under the effects of light that was the essence of Impressionism (e.g. Wellington Harbour). Hutt River (1892; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) is typical of his brand of Scottish Impressionism. New Zealand artists were stimulated by the first-hand contact Nairn provided with innovative European styles. He was among the first artists in New Zealand who lived solely from the sale of their art. His flair, independence and professionalism encouraged a considerable following in Wellington, where he lived for the remainder of his short life. Nairn was prominent in art circles, teaching at the local art school, exhibiting his work regularly and forming an art group that favoured freedom of expression....

Article

(b Siena, Feb 21, 1860; d Nervi, June 24, 1926 or Siena, March 11, 1947).

Italian painter, active in Australia and New Zealand. He studied in Florence at the Accademia di Belle Arti under Antonio Ciseri and Giovanni Muzziolo (1854–94). He also responded to the art of the Scapigliati group and the Macchiaioli. In 1885 he travelled to Australia, where he worked and exhibited in Melbourne and Sydney. He met leading Australian artists including Charles Conder, whose early paintings share affinities with his style. Nerli exhibited portraits and figure compositions, though his reputation rests on small-scale sketches of contemporary subjects in and around Sydney and Melbourne; these are painted in a fluid impressionistic manner, such as the Beach at Port Melbourne from the Foreshore, St Kilda (c. 1888; Melbourne, N.G. Victoria). In 1892 Nerli visited Samoa, where he painted several portraits of the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (e.g. Edinburgh, N.G.; New Haven, CT, Yale U., Beinecke Lib.). Nerli went to New Zealand in ...

Article

Andrew Leach

(Hugh) [Neumann, Friedrich Hugo]

(b Vienna, July 2, 1900; d Wellington, Aug 7, 1964).

New Zealand architect and polemicist of Austrian birth. Graduating from the Technische Hochschule in Vienna in 1923, Newman studied in Paris from 1924 to 1927 under Camille Lefèvre (1876–1946). Returning to Vienna in 1927, he joined his father’s practice where he worked until 1932, when he joined the community of foreign specialists based in the Soviet Union. There he contributed to large-scale projects in several cities. He returned to Vienna briefly in 1937, but left in May 1938 with his wife and daughter, bound ultimately for New Zealand (via London). Ethnically Jewish, he was granted refugee status in New Zealand and found employment as a draughtsman for the Department of Housing Construction. There he contributed to the McLean Flats (Wellington) and Symonds Street Flats (Auckland). At this time he started writing essays and delivering lectures that included reflections on democracy and on the architect’s role in society, a practice that spans his career in New Zealand....

Article

(b Ballarat, Victoria, Sept 1, 1884; d Delegate, New South Wales, Aug 3, 1961).

Australian painter. Hilda Rix Nicholas was an academic painter whose career spanned the first half of the 20th century. She gained recognition in Europe and Australia for her colourful canvases, many painted en plein air, depicting everyday life in the countries in which she lived and visited, primarily Australia, England, France, and Morocco. She was educated at Merton Hall and then at the National Gallery School, both in Melbourne, between 1902 and 1905, where she studied with Frederick McCubbin. Hilda Rix travelled to Europe on the SS Runic with her sister Elsie and her mother Elizabeth, both amateur artists, arriving in London in May 1907. Here she studied at the New Art School, Kensington under John Hassall (1868–1948). By November 1907 she was enrolled at the Académie Delécluse in Paris and in the following year received private instruction there from the American Painter Richard Emil Miller (1875–1943...

Article

John Maidment

(b Huddersfield, Oct 2, 1858; d Rowella, Tasmania, May 28, 1945).

Australian architect of English birth. He studied at the Kendal School of Art, Cumberland, and the Lambeth School of Art, London; he was articled in Kendal and he worked for the church architect James Cubitt, whose writings influenced him. He travelled widely in Europe, and in a national competition (1883) for art schools he won the gold medal for his cathedral drawings. In 1883 he emigrated to Tasmania and first worked for the Tasmanian Government in Hobart; he was later in partnership in Launceston successively with L. G. Corrie, W. H. Dunning, A. H. Masters, R. F. Ricards, F. J. Heyward and, in Melbourne, with Louis R. Williams from 1913 to 1920. North’s early work shows the influence of R. Norman Shaw and William Burges in the adoption of massive forms, Queen Anne style and French detailing; the Anglo-Dutch idiom of the Launceston Post Office (c. 1885–9...