William Frater (1890 -1974)

William ‘Jock’ Frater was an Australian modernist painter based in Melbourne, who challenged the conservative views of art in the city at the time. He is regarded as an important pioneer in early Australian modernism. Frater was born in Scotland in 1890. At 15, he began an apprenticeship in the Glasgow glass studio of Oscar…

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…

Conrad Martens (1801-1878)

Conrad Martens was Australia’s first professional artist. At the age of sixteen he began his art study in London, ending a banking tradition in his family that stretched back to the fifteenth century. Martens left England onboard the Hyacinth headed towards India, but changed ships to work as an artist on the HMS Beagle. He…

Louis Buvelot (1814-1888)

Louis Buvelot arrived in Australia in 1865 as an accomplished painter with a strong reputation in Europe. Following his studies in Switzerland and Paris in the early 1830s, Buvelot spent eighteen years working under the patronage of the Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II, who had provided him with a studio and purchased his work….

Edward Roper (1830 – 1909)

Edward Roper was born in 1830 and was a consummate traveller, visiting Canada and Australia. He was a writer as well as a painter, lithographer, and illustrator and died in the early twentieth century. Not much is known of him or his artistic output, but we know he travelled to Australia on several occasions from…