Decorative Arts

Benalla Art Gallery’s digitisation of the Gallery Collection began with the photography of our small but precious decorative arts collection. The Collection was gifted to the Gallery in 1993 as part of the substantial Ledger Bequest left by Laurie and Erma Ledger. It includes a broad range of porcelain manufactured by Royal Worcester, Spode and…

Grace Cossington Smith (1892 – 1984)

Grace Cossington Smith was sixty years of age when she painted After fire 1952.  It is one of a group of similarly themed landscapes that she produced close to her family home on Sydney’s upper north shore. After spending the previous three years in Europe, she had returned to Turramurra to be confronted by the…

Clara Southern (1860 – 1940)

The artist’s home c.1909 belongs to a period of Clara Southern’s work when she was being hailed as one of Victoria’s leading artists. It was produced following her relocation from Melbourne to Warrandyte, a place where she was to live and work for the rest of her life. The painting depicts the cottage, detached studio…

Matthew James MacNally

Benalla Art Gallery recently acquired 10 paintings by Matthew James MacNally to add to the small number already held in the Gallery’s Collection. The paintings were donated by the Estate of Alison L. McInnis. Matthew James MacNally was born in Benalla on 5 July 1873. His interest in art began seriously in the mid-1890s when…

Arnold Shore (1897 – 1963)

Arnold Joseph Victor Shore, artist and critic, was born on 5 May 1897 at Windsor, Melbourne.  At aged 12 he joined a Melbourne firm of glass merchants where he worked for more than twenty years, principally as a designer of stained glass. Also working at the same firm was the artist William Frater, who became…

John Longstaff (1861-1941)

Much is known and has been written about Sir John Campbell Longstaff. He was born in Victoria in 1861, and although at times he worked on the land around Shepparton, his passion was art. Much to the chagrin of his father, he attended the National Gallery School in Melbourne and won the first travelling scholarship…

Joseph Backler (1813-1895)

Joseph Backler was born in 1813 in England and was transported to Australia aboard the convict ship Portland 18 years later for forging cheques. He was the son of a painter and chose painting as his profession when arriving in Australia. His early work concentrated mainly on landscapes, and in 1843 Beckler was advertising his…