FAMILY IS EVERYTHING (PART II)
Following our “Family Is Everything” article from August 2017, which detailed my experiences of uniting four separate families with artworks painted by their talented ancestors, since we have assisted four other families and a historical society:
Kevin Oxley OAM (1941-2016) was an award-winning Australian painter, sculptor and printmaker for more than 30 years. His work is in art collections in NSW and Queensland Universities, and he was a finalist in the Archibald Prize. Kevin’s wife, Glenda, was overjoyed with ‘Waiting’ (c.1970), in light of the recent, untimely death of her husband. The painting includes her daughter, Rachael, and Glenda surprised her with the painting for Christmas 2017, who “was so emotionally moved to have this little reminder of her Dad and her childhood and was overwhelmed and thrilled.”
Douglas Portway (1922-1993) was an important South African abstract artist, who enjoyed great international success, particularly in the UK as part of the influential St. Ives movement in Cornwall with contemporaries Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon & Barbara Hepworth. His nephew, David, recalls growing up in Bristol (England) and visiting his uncle in Cornwall & France, and remembers seeing his walls covered in his incredible works. Now living in Melbourne, and having never owned an original Portway artwork himself, he was ecstatic to find “Still Life” (1985) in our gallery, all the way across the other side of the world in our gallery.
Herbert Tomlinson (XIX-XX) was a prolific English painter, who was known for his impressive, colourful and delicate landscape oils and watercolours during the Victorian and early Edwardian era. His work encompassed traditional English scenes, to Orientalist landscapes of North Africa, which were popular during his time. His great-granddaughter, Belinda, contacted us from Wellington, NZ, and was extremely impressed and excited to find one of her ancestor’s watercolours so far from the UK, but also one as stunning as “Bluebells, Warwickshire” (c.1900) available from Belle Epoque.
Rupert Cecil Fidler (1885-1959) was an Australian watercolourist from Newcastle, active in the early 20th century. Fidler was a member of the Royal Art Society and the Society of Artists, where he liased and painted alongside contemporaries such as Sydney Long, JJ Hilder, Isabel McWhannell and Reginald Ward Sturgess. We were contacted by Rupert’s great-nephew, David, on holiday in Tasmania, who found the atmospheric “Lake Scene, Newcastle” (1915) in our collection and jumped at the opportunity to own his first Fidler work. He still resides in his great-uncle’s hometown.
We were recently contacted by North Sydney Council historian, Ian Hoskins, with regards to the artist Arthur ‘Art’ Barton (1887-1974). Barton was an influential Sydney artist and illustrator, famous for being the artistic vision behind Sydney’s Luna Park (he is responsible for the impressive face at the entrance). So important to the area is Barton, the park at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the north side is named after him. “Mediteranean Scene” (c.1920) was a watercolour painted during Barton’s travels, whilst being educated in Europe. Barton’s works are very rare, and according to Hoskins, our watercolour is of extreme importance and significance to North Sydney Council, and will now be included in their upcoming exhibition of Art Barton works.
All these clients are now proud owners of wonderful, sentimental pieces with deep personal significance. It is an honour to be part of the process of helping families rediscover their proud history, and it is a incredibly fulfilling part of my job. L