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.

Dora Wislon: Corner of Spring and Bourke Streets, Melbourne

Dora Wilson: Corner of Spring and Bourke Streets, Melbourne, c.1930-39

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.

 

Fine Arts Society building, 100 Exhibition Street

Fine Arts Society building, 100 Exhibition Street

 

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.

After the shower, Spring Street, 1937

After the shower, Spring Street, 1937

 

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?

St. Francis' Church, Melbourne, c.1935

St. Francis’ Church, Melbourne, c.1935

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.

Ships at anchor, 1904

Ships at anchor, 1904

 

Unidentified light house on a cliff,c. 1900-10

Unidentified light house on a cliff,c. 1900-10

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

John Mather: Sir Redmond Barry's residence off Bourke Street, 1915

John Mather: Sir Redmond Barry’s residence off Bourke Street, 1915

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

*

Terms & Conditions