Child on a Beach

Frances (Frankie) Mallalieu Payne

Child on a Beach by Frances (Frankie) Mallalieu Payne


Frances (Frankie) Mallalieu Payne
Child on a Beach
oil on canvas
27 x 21 cm

signed lower right: Frank Payne '30

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Further Information

Frances, also known as Frankie or Frank, Payne was a successful commercial artist, regularly illustrating for magazines, books, catalogues and advertising. She was born in Brisbane and studied at the Central Technical College before travelling to Europe where she continued her studies in Paris (at Colarossi and briefly at l’Ecole des Beax Arts and La Grande Chaumiere) and London where she learned from Frank Brangwyn. The discipline of her training is evident in all her work, both her paintings and her more lucrative commercial and freelance work.

On her return to Australia, Payne moved to Sydney and married a naval captain and after having three sons, they separated in 1928 and she continued to work and support her family through her career.  Her children provided a natural subject for her oil paintings, as well as undertaking more formal portraits and genre scenes. Payne regularly exhibited her work at the Royal Art Society and the Society of Women Painters and was instrumental in reinvigorating the latter to become the Women’s Industrial Arts Society NSW, becoming the inaugural president in 1935 and was recognised for supporting other artists including Daphne Mayo and Lloyd Rees. Payne was awarded the George Taylor Memorial Prize in 1930 and the King’s Coronation Medal in 1937.

Although her paintings of children have been described as tending towards the sentimental,Child on a Beach is a charming and atmospheric painting in a harmonious colour palette, evocative of the yellows and blue of the beach. The high horizon line, a sliver of blue sea and white breakers populated by swimmers, allows for an impressionistic expanse of sand, complemented by the fluffy clouds. The child is the central focus, squinting at us in the sun as the sand is let to run playfully through their fingers.

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