Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod – A Peabody Essex Museum Collection piece

The outstanding works by ceramicist Stephen Bowers continue to gain the interest by international collections. Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod is a recent acquisition by the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA.

Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod 2018 jigger jolley, white earthenware, underglaze color, clear glaze, on-glaze, ‘distressed’  burnished antique gold, 2.5 x 35.7 cm.

Against a back ground of lobed reserves, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo ( Cacatua galleria) perches, holding in its beak a length of blue twisted string from which the bird is dangling a decorative bow arrangement The cockatoo references classic natural history (bird) illustration, being derived from, and paying homage to, the work of W T Cooper . The decorative yellow bow is sourced from Meyer’s Hand book of Ornament.

The reserve above the bird’s raised crest is filled with Honeysuckle, a wallpaper design first registered by William Morris in 1883. The bird perches on another reserve depicting a fragment of fabric design (also called Honeysuckle) by William Morris 1874 (sample in the Birmingham Museum). Behind the chest of the cockatoo is a reserve decorated with Eucalyptus corymbosa (Bloodwood) from botanical illustrations in A Research on The Eucalyptus and their Essential Oils by Richard T Baker and Henry G Smith, Technological Museum of New South Wales, Sydney 1920.

Finally, the large lobed circular fragment to the left of the cockatoo comprises a blue and white paneled border with elements in a central circular in-fill. The border and foliage details are based closely on Ming kraakwares held in the collection of the PEM Salem, in particular a porcelain Charger, 1573 – 1619, 3.3 ins (8.4 cms) X 20.7 ins (52.6 cms) dia. Museum purchase 1994. E84059. The paneled sections of the outer border contain motifs typical of the period including auspicious Buddhist regalia and symbols. The central circular reserve incorporates a rendering of the 1773 George Stubb’s Kangaroo – the first clear depiction of this Australian marsupial macropod.

For details about available works by Stephen Bowers, please view our stockroom or contact the Gallery.


Harold Mitchell’s article The Age Friday 12 August

Those at the opening of our Collectors’ Exhibition 2016 on Saturday 6th August enjoyed the entertaining speech by raconteur Harold Mitchell AC.

Click here to watch the video of the opening .

Harold Mitchell at opening of LDFA Collectors' Exhibition 2016
Harold Mitchell at opening of LDFA Collectors’ Exhibition 2016 ***

Read his article from the Business Today section of The Age, Friday 12 August – click on the link below for the full text.

“I was delighted to open an arts exhibition in Melbourne last weekend.

I’ve always been comfortable in the art world after being chairman of the National Gallery and growing up around artists themselves.

And as a result I’ve learned a few rules about openings: don’t get too serious, throw in a couple of jokes and try as best you can to dress like Barry Humphries, including a small colourful sarong stuffed into the breast pocket of your jacket.

It was a wonderful Saturday afternoon at the Lauraine Diggins Fine Art exhibition and the pictures for sale weren’t too shabby.  The Europeans included a Guido Reni with P.O.A. on it where the dollar figure usually appears.  A Richard Bonington was available at a cool $US460,000 and the Australian contingent included, Streeton, Glover, Conder and a wonderful piece by the extraordinary Australian Indigenous artist Rover Thomas, which I suspect will fetch up around a million.”

Mitchell_The Age 12082016 Australia is Stuck in a Rut and Needs Brave New Leaders


Masters of the drawn line feature at exhibition

Nora Heysen and Constance Stokes: Drawings from the Estates

in The Australian Financial Review, Thursday 7th July 2016 by Peter Fish.

FinReview_HeysenStokes July2016

Masters of the drawn line feature at exhibition

by Peter Fish, The Australian Financial Review Thursday 7 July 2016 p. 14

Two acclaimed artists, Nora Heysen and Constance Stokes, are featured at an exhibition at the long-established Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in Melbourne’s north Caulfield.

Both women are acclaimed for their control of their drawn line, Ms Diggins says.

“Drawings are so often undervalued, and this exhibition provides the opportunity for both new and established collectors to acquire work by revered Australian artists at extremely affordable prices,” she says.

Among the offering are Stokes’ Jewish Woman in Costume, 1974, in red ink and pastel on paper, and Black Stockings, 1968 in blue ink and watercolour on paper, priced at $4250 and $3750 respectively.

There is also Heysen’s Vivien, New Guinea 1954-55 in conte crayon on paper and Seated Male with Leg on Stool circa 1956 in pencil on paper, at $2500 and $2750 respectively.

The exhibition was opened on May 21 by Associate Professor Alison Inglis from the University of Melbourne in the presence of Connie Stokes’ daughter, Lucilla Wyborn d’Abrera and Nora Heysen’s niece Stephanie Griffiths.

Patchwork, ironic, serious and kitsch: the best of the Archibald finalists by Joanna Mendelssohn

Read Joanna Mendelssohn’s article from The Conversation about the 2016 Archibald including Michael McWilliams’ The Usurpers (Self Portrait).

“The Tasmanian artist Michael McWilliams’ The usurpers (self portrait) is a magically elaborate study in a similar mode to that of the Italian Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Every element is an import to Australia. Sheep, cattle, pigeons, carp, trout, rabbits, rats, mice, fruit and grain, all combine to form the artist’s face.

The usurpers hangs at the entrance to the exhibition, a long way from the winner’s circle, but it is probably the painting that most visitors will remember.”

Patchwork, ironic, serious and kitsch: the best of the Archibald finalists