A chance encounter at a recent art auction viewing re-acquainted me with the lovely work of Dora Wilson, and I was delighted to find her work well represented in our own collections, as well as some personal papers and a myriad of exhibition catalogues.
Born in England in 1883, she lived most of her life in Melbourne and spent a great deal of her time documenting the city and its environs in a series of beautiful paintings and sketches, culminating in her show Milestones of Melbourne at the Fine Art Society’s Gallery in 1935.
Known for her bright, vibrant style of painting she was an unashamed realist whose best work strikes me as presenting Melbourne as a sun filled, colourful and bustling 19th century metropolis moving comfortably into the modern era.
Apart from the sheer pleasure works like these can give, they also bear witness to the changing face of the city; is that our Dome peeking out amongst the buildings on the left in this charming picture of St. Francis’ Church?
During her studies at the National Gallery School in the early years of the 20th century, Dora became interested in etching and studied with John Mather, also represented in our collections. She was one of the first women to apply herself to this medium in Australia, and her prints demonstrate the same freshness that radiates from her paintings.
Lovely things. It’s amazing what a chance encounter can lead to, don’t you think?
To finish, a rather appropriate painting by John Mather