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John R. Neeson

An arrangement of inanimate objects in a domestic setting, the Still-life has remained central to the repertory of Australian artists, despite fluctuations in recognition by prevailing aesthetic hierarchies. By the late 20th century, major international exhibitions and publications of the works of Australian artists succeeded in giving the genre currency not only in painting but also across a broad spectrum of three-dimensional, analogue, and digital image-based media.

Colonial still-life painters applied skills acquired through the illustration of natural history and botany to this studio-based genre. The earliest extant still-life painting from the colony of New South Wales is probably the Fish Catch and Dawes Point Sydney Harbour (c. 1813; Adelaide, A.G. S. Australia.) by John William Lewin (1770–1819). Lewin, the first free and professional artist of the settlement, represents each fish as a specimen, carefully cataloguing the details of its type. Images of marine specimens, in a remarkably similar composition, rendered in oil on wooden panels, form the lid of a painted ...


(b Florence, c. 1820; d Perth, W. Australia, 1907).

Australian architect, sculptor and mason of Italian birth. He travelled widely before emigrating to Melbourne in 1851. After working on the gold diggings, he established himself as a sculptor, monumental mason and contractor. In 1869 he was appointed Diocesan Architect in Goulburn, New South Wales, and worked on the cathedral there. By 1875 he had moved to Brisbane where, in the boom of the 1880s, he designed numerous buildings in a much-admired florid, Italianate style as well as some more restrained schools and Gothic churches. His work in Brisbane included the M. D. Benjamin Warehouse (later Dalgety’s; 1881; destr.), the Opera House (1886; destr.) and the residences Bertholme (1881) and Palm Rosa (1887). He also designed the Christian Brothers College (1875) and All Hallows School (1880), and the churches of St Andrew’s (1878) and St Patrick’s (1880), all in Brisbane. Undeterred by depressed conditions in Queensland after ...


Ann Galbally


(b Mount Duneed, Victoria, April 8, 1867; d Olinda, Sept 2, 1943).

Australian painter. He moved to Melbourne with his family when he was seven. In 1882 he enrolled as a student of drawing at the evening classes of the National Gallery School of Design and briefly in the School of Painting, but he had no sustained formal instruction in painting. At the same time he began making watercolour sketches of Melbourne, and by 1886 his skill led to an apprenticeship as a lithographer to George Troedel and Co. of Collins Street. The most important early influence on Streeton was Tom Roberts, who had returned to Melbourne from Europe in 1885. With Frederick McCubbin, Streeton and Roberts painted en plein air at a temporary camp at Box Hill, forming what became known as the Heidelberg school. A little later Streeton established the first permanent artists’ camp at Eaglemont, north-west of Melbourne, overlooking the Yarra Valley, where he painted some of his most memorable works. ‘...


Heather Curnow

(b Teignmouth, Devon, July 3, 1825; d Wadhurst, E. Sussex, Jan 3, 1915).

English painter and illustrator. He was the grandson of the antiquarian Joseph Strutt (1749–1802) and the son of the miniaturist William Thomas Strutt (1777–1850). He trained in Paris from 1838 to 1845 in the studios of Michel-Martin Drolling and Joseph-Nicholas Jouy (b 1809), and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1850 he went to Melbourne, where he contributed to the Illustrated Australian Magazine, visited the Ballarat gold fields and recorded the meeting of Victoria’s first Legislative Council. He received numerous commissions for portraits of important Melbourne public figures including politicians and the explorer Robert O’Hara Burke. In 1855–6 he lived in New Zealand and produced accomplished paintings, drawings and watercolours of his pioneering life in the bush, the Maoris and the scenery around New Plymouth (e.g. The Beach, New Plymouth, c. 1856; Wellington, NZ, Turnbull Lib.). Returning to Melbourne in 1856, Strutt became a founder-member of the Victorian Society of Fine Arts and sketched the departure of the Burke and Wills exploring expedition from Melbourne in ...


Patrick Hutchings

The aesthetic concept of Sublime, the had been extensively discussed and developed in Europe throughout the 18th century, in particular by Edmund Burke in his work A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1756). Burke identified both the Sublime and the Beautiful as emotional responses to the landscape, but whereas the Beautiful was smooth, even, small and regular, the Sublime was vast, awe-inspiring and created a sense of ‘delightful horror’ in the viewer (Burke, Book I, §III; Book II, §VIII), that is a delight in horror that does not threaten the viewer. Obscurity, terror, eternity and infinity are also themes in Burke’s work, all of which can be read as substitutes for the fear of God. The Sublime in Nature is the first essay in The Australian Sketchbook (1838) by James Martin (1820–86) is one of the earliest references to the Sublime in Australia. Although Martin does not seem to have read Burke’s work, he too describes the notion of the ‘sublimity and power of the Creator’ seen everywhere in His works....


(b London, Aug 29, 1849; d Australia, Aug 18, 1934).

English architect, urban planner, writer and teacher. He studied architecture at the Royal Academy, London, where he was a friend of William Morris. Following an apprenticeship to Harry Robert Newton (d 1889), he set up in private practice in 1870 as a partner in Sulman Rhodes, designing several churches, including Congregational churches in Caterham and Croydon, Surrey, and Bromley, Kent, as well as schools and country houses. He also became Vice-President of the Architectural Association, London. In 1885 Sulman moved to Australia, where he became interested in the regulation of Australia’s rapidly growing cities. He continued to practise as an architect in Sydney with J. P Power, important buildings including the Bank of New South Wales (1889) and Mutual Life Association Building (1891; later New Zealand Chambers), both in Sydney, and the AMP Buildings in Melbourne and Brisbane, in which he used a variety of classical styles. However his most important work was in the development of urban planning theories and legislation, and he became an influential writer and government consultant in this field. In his early book ...


(b East Charlton, Somerset, July 27, 1825; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, nr Paris, Nov 30, 1878).

English sculptor. He was apprenticed to his father, George Summers, a mason. He then worked as a studio assistant, first to Henry Weekes and then in 1846 to Musgrave Lewthwaite Watson. From 1848 to 1851 he attended the Royal Academy Schools in London. In 1851 he contracted tuberculosis, and in 1853, having abandoned a chance to study in Rome, he settled in Australia. The sea voyage effected the hoped-for cure, and for a while he joined his brothers in the goldfields at Tarnagulla. He was a gifted artist who worked in a classical manner, and he soon re-established himself as a sculptor in Melbourne. Among his earliest commissions was the supervision of the stone-carving on the façade of the new Melbourne Parliament House. He became active in art circles and knew the immigrant painters Eugene von Guérard and Nicholas Chevalier. In 1861 he re-formed the then defunct Victoria Society of Arts and in ...


Frances Lindsay

(b New York, Dec 26, 1853; d Melbourne, July 25, 1928).

Australian painter. She was the eldest daughter of George Sutherland (1829–85), a carver, music teacher and artist who moved with his family to Australia from Glasgow in 1864, settling in Melbourne in 1870. She attended the National Gallery School from 1871 to 1885 and was awarded the R. Wallen Prize in 1883. From mid-1888 she occupied a studio with Clara Southern and gave art lessons in Grosvenor Chambers, Collins Street, where Tom Roberts also had a studio.

From 1887 Sutherland joined sketching trips to Alphington and Diamond Creek and to the artists’ plein-air camps established by Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and other members of the Heidelberg group at Box Hill and Templestowe, near Melbourne. She was one of the most important female artists of the Heidelberg school. Her poetic, Impressionist landscapes often contain figure studies of children or women engaged in such gentle rural activities as mushroom picking and bracken gathering (e.g. ...


Miles Lewis

(b Scarborough, Yorks [now N. Yorks], 1825; d Melbourne, June 23, 1884).

Australian architect of English birth. He emigrated to Melbourne in 1853 and worked with the architect Charles Laing (d 1857). By 1856 he had his own practice, but on Laing’s death he took over his role and clientele, notably some of the major banks and the Church of England, of which he became Diocesan Architect (1860). His first commercial buildings were Sands & Kenny’s printing house (1856; remodelled by Terry, 1868), the Victoria Sugar Company Works at Sandridge, Port Melbourne (1857–9), and various handsome bluestone warehouses (c. 1857–8). For the warehouses especially he favoured a Renaissance Palazzo style, but by setting off the dark local stone against light cement dressings he created a distinctive effect. In his Melbourne Club (1858) he used the Palazzo style austerely but on a grand scale, with equally pretentious interior spaces; the later addition of a bay-windowed extension distorts the simple façade, and the scagliola columns and other interior decoration are painted over....


J. N. Mané-Wheoki

(b Hastings, E. Sussex, Sept 5, 1814; d Bakewell, Derbys, Oct 19, 1890).

New Zealand architect and Clergyman of English birth. He was elected to membership of the Institute of British Architects in 1836 and practised in London before emigrating to New Zealand in 1843. Under the direction of George Augustus Selwyn (1809–78), the colony’s first bishop, he designed St Mary’s church, New Plymouth, in severe Early English Gothic, and Te Henui parsonage, also in New Plymouth—both stone structures dating from 1845.

Meanwhile, in 1845 Thatcher had been appointed Superintendent of Public Works for New Zealand, as well as being supervising architect at Selwyn’s College of St John the Evangelist, Auckland. Assisted by Reader Wood (1821–95) he developed and refined the ‘Selwyn Gothic’ style in structurally expressive timber buildings reminiscent of medieval half-timbering. Their exposed framework consists of chamfered horizontal and vertical members and arched bracing, with cladding of upright planking on the interior. Roofs are steeply pitched with deep eaves. In the College Chapel (...


Donald Langmead

(b London, Feb 1820; d Adelaide, 1884).

Australia architect of English birth, also active in Wales. Thomas arrived in South Australia aboard the Cygnet with a survey expedition on 11 September 1836 as the private pupil of George Kingston. His articles were terminated when Kingston returned to London in June 1837 and Thomas, a consummate draughtsman even then, was seconded to Surveyor-General Colonel William Light (1786–1839), under whose direction he drew the first official town plan of Adelaide as it had been surveyed. In 1838 Thomas joined the private surveying firm of Light, Finniss and Co., as draughtsman, but by 1840 he was again in Kingston’s employ, where he remained for about three years. He unsuccessfully applied in August 1844 for a place in Sturt’s expedition to find the inland sea and the following January he formed a desultory architectural partnership with William Parry James. 15 months later the two returned to Britain, where Thomas soon set up a sole practice in Newport, Wales. During the next 15 years he produced over 50 projects and buildings: churches, chapels, schools, houses and notably the Freemasons’ Hall (...


John W. F. Cattell

(b Glasgow, Aug 23, 1824; d Wellington, New Zealand, Feb 23, 1907).

Scottish architect, active in New Zealand. He was employed as Clerk of Works to David Bryce in Edinburgh before travelling to Victoria, Australia, in 1851 where he practised as an architect in the gold-digging townships. He moved to San Francisco in 1861 and over a ten-year period designed many buildings there, none of which is known to have survived. Overwork following the earthquake of 1868 led to a breakdown in his health and his emigration to New Zealand in the early 1870s. He settled in Wellington, establishing an extensive practice there. At the time of his arrival the use of brick for building construction was eschewed by that city’s inhabitants who favoured earthquake-resistant wooden structures. Turnbull introduced methods of strengthening brick buildings learnt in San Francisco and was instrumental in transforming Wellington into a brick city of ornate public and commercial buildings in a variety of classical styles.

Turnbull was a pragmatic colonial architect whose work shows a greater concern for practical considerations than for stylistic fidelity. His architecture is representative of the Scottish classical tradition in contrast to the Gothic bias evident in the work of most of his English-trained contemporaries. However, two of his finest surviving Wellington buildings are in the Gothic Revival style. These are the wooden St John’s Presbyterian Church (...


George Tibbits

Australian architectural partnership. Beverley Ussher (b Melbourne 1868; d Melbourne, 9 June 1908) and Henry (Hardie) Kemp (b Broughton, Lancs, 10 March 1859; d Melbourne, 22 April 1946) formed a partnership in Melbourne in 1899, which lasted until Ussher’s death. In his youth Kemp was articled to Corsen and Aitken of Manchester, worked with R. W. Edis in London and with Paull & Bonella. Ussher was articled to Alfred Dunn (1862–94) in Melbourne, and through Dunn was introduced when visiting London to Walter Butler (1864–1949), W. R. Lethaby, Ernest Gimson and Sidney Barnsley (1864–1926) and Ernest Barnsley. Both Ussher and Kemp had strong Arts and Crafts commitments. Both had been in partnerships before forming their own: Ussher with Walter Butler (1889–93); Kemp with Percy Oakden and G. H. M. Addison (1857/8–1922) from 1887 to 1893...


[Wilhelm Carl]

(b Nienburg, Oct 2, 1828; d Bendigo, Victoria, July 22, 1915).

British architect of German birth. He studied architecture at the Baugewerkeschule, Holzminden, during which time he worked in architects’ offices in Bremen and Hamburg. He qualified in 1852, and although he had been appointed engineer to a section of railway between Hannover and Kassel, he resigned to practise as an architect at Diepholz. Dissatisfaction with German politics, combined with the lure of the gold rushes, attracted him to Melbourne in 1854 and to the Bendigo goldfields. Unsuccessful as a miner, he worked as a carpenter until 1857, when he took British citizenship, built a house for himself and entered practice in partnership with Robert Getzschmann (d 1875). In 1862–3 Vahland practised at Dunedin, New Zealand, in partnership with W. H. Monson while Getzschmann continued the practice at Bendigo. Vahland is generally taken to be the partnership’s principal designer and to be responsible for its distinctive characteristics, which include many Greek details, such as the acroteria on his own house and others. Many of his churches, for example St Peter’s, Eaglehawk (...


Annemieke Hoogenboom

(b Rotterdam, May 5, 1837; d Auckland, New Zealand, Nov 11, 1913).

Dutch painter. Originally trained as a lithographer, he ran a lithographic printing works in Rotterdam around the years 1858–67, and then studied at the academies in Rotterdam and Berlin. After a stay on the island of Marken (1871–3) he lived in or near The Hague until 1888. During this period he painted mainly genre scenes such as Dutch Funeral (1872; Christchurch, NZ, McDougall A.G.) and the Old Cellist (1887; The Hague, Gemeentemus.); he also produced some landscapes, for example Snow on the Sand Dunes (1889–90; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa). His work of this Dutch period displays a tension between Naturalism and Romantic Realism in the style of Jozef Israels. In 1890 van der Velden moved to Christchurch in New Zealand, where he painted rather monochromatic impressionistic landscapes. Important works from this period include Rock Study, Sumner (c. 1890; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) and ...


Valerie A. Clack

(b Christchurch, Hants, March 15, 1782; d nr Kempsey, NSW, July 9, 1861).

Australian architect of English birth. He came from a family whose members had worked in the building trade for generations. His father, Nicholas Verge, was a bricklayer, and Verge entered the family trade. About 1804 he went to London and worked there as a tradesman and builder, probably also acquiring experience of architecture. By 1828 he was an established builder and owned several properties in London, but in that year he moved to Sydney with the intention of farming, acquiring a large pastoral property on the Williams River, NSW. By 1830, however, financial constraints forced him to return to Sydney, where he quickly established a large and successful practice as an architect–builder, assisted from 1832 by John Bibb (1810–62), a trained architect. During the next seven years they reportedly produced more than a hundred buildings, mostly in a Neo-classical Georgian style, among which were some of the finest houses of the period in Sydney. Surviving examples include Tusculum (...


Peter Bridges

(b High Wycombe, Bucks, Aug 11, 1846; d Sydney, Jan 17, 1914).

Australian architect of English birth. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and South Kensington School of Art in London and began to practise in Hastings in 1872. In 1883 he emigrated to Sydney and went into partnership (1884–9) with William Wilkinson Wardell, building many large houses in the Queen Anne style of Philip Webb and R. Norman Shaw. In 1890 Vernon was appointed New South Wales Government Architect, a post he held until his retirement in 1911. His major buildings in Sydney, the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1885–1909), the State Library (1910) and Central Railway Station (1903–6), were in the classical style, the former two buildings having Ionic porticos, while his Fisher Library (1909), University of Sydney, and Registrar-General’s Office (1913) were adaptations of Perpendicular Gothic. He also designed many public buildings in the suburbs and country that were strongly influenced by Shaw and the Arts and Crafts Movement; in contrast to the classic formality adopted by his predecessor, James Barnet, these buildings were open-planned to combat harsh climatic conditions. Between ...


(b Richmond, Surrey, ?Oct 4, 1794; d Hobart, Tasmania, Aug 17, 1847).

Australian painter and writer of English birth. He first achieved notice as an art critic and essayist for the London Magazine (1820–23) under a variety of pseudonyms. His circle of acquaintances included Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt and Thomas De Quincey. Between 1821 and 1825 he exhibited six paintings on literary subjects at the Royal Academy, London (and probably drawings, since he preferred to work on paper). A wash drawing of amorous couples in a landscape (early 1820s; London, BM) is reminiscent of Fuseli, whom he described as ‘the God of his worship’.

In his writings and manner, Wainewright affected the style of the dilettante; he was reputed to be a poisoner and embezzler. In 1837 he was tried for forgery and transported to Hobart in Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land) where in the next ten years, despite his convict status and poor health, he made an important contribution to the early art of Australia. He was, with ...


Roger Neich

(b Mangamuka, nr Kaitaia, 1854; d Rotorua, Sept 1931).

New Zealand Maori wood-carver. He went to Rotorua with his mother when he was a few years old, following her capture and forced removal to North Auckland. He grew up at Ruato on Lake Rotoiti among his own people of Ngati Tarawhai, who were celebrated wood-carvers and canoe builders. He learnt the art of wood-carving in the 1870s from his skilled older relatives, Anaha Te Rahui (1822–1913) and Wero Taroi ( fl 1850–80), but by this time large carved war canoes had become obsolete, being replaced by fully carved meeting-houses as the focus of tribal pride and prestige. Waitere assisted his older relatives on the large carved houses that many tribes in various parts of North Island were commissioning from Ngati Tarawhai; the houses on which he worked include Tiki-a-Tamamutu (1878) at Taupo, Uenuku-mai-Rarotonga (1875) at Maketu and Tuhoromatakaka (1909) at Whakarewarewa. He also became a prolific carver for the Rotorua tourist market, executing large commissions for the New Zealand Government Tourist Department. While working for these European patrons he experimented with naturalism, perspective elements and narrative scenes illustrating local tribal legends. Rauru meeting-house (...


Ursula M. de Jong

(b London, Sept 27, 1823; d Sydney, Nov 19, 1899).

English architect and engineer, active in Australia. He trained as an engineer for the Commissioners of the London Sewers (1839–1843) and as an architect with W. F. East. He greatly admired A. W. N. Pugin, whose work influenced him. In 1843 he became a convert to Roman Catholicism. Between 1846 and 1858 he designed 36 Catholic Gothic Revival churches in Britain, four in an Italianate style, and numerous parsonages, convent buildings and schools. His works are characterized by elegant proportions and architectonic massiveness. St Birinus (1847), Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxon, and Our Immaculate Lady of Victories (1849–51), Clapham, London, are excellent examples of his early Decorated work. His later work in Britain is characterized by a simpler and bolder architectural exposition, in which geometric, rather than curvilinear, patterns dominate the tracery design.

In 1858 owing to ill-health Wardell sold his professional practice and emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. In December of that year he was commissioned to design ...