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Collection

An image of 'Two sketches' or 'Head of a clergyman and head of a youth reading' by Phil May

Phil May

(England, Australia 27 Apr 1864 – 05 Aug 1903)

Title
'Two sketches' or 'Head of a clergyman and head of a youth reading'
Other titles:
Two pencil sketches
Head of a clergyman
Head of a clergyman (The Reverand J Brophy)
Two sketches / Head of a clergyman (The Reverand J Brophy)
Year
1887
Media category
Drawing
Materials used
pencil
Dimensions

28.9 x 21.9 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.r., pencil "PHIL MAY/ '87". Signed l.l., pencil ".../ .../ ... Phil May [underlined]/ aug 29/87".
Credit
Gift of Howard Hinton 1915
Accession number
216
Location
Not on display
Further information

As with Livingston Hopkins, it was the inspired inducement of W H Traill of 'The Bulletin' that brought Phil May to Australia. In his brief time at 'The Bulletin' between 1886 and 1888, May quickly established himself as one of the finest cartoonists in the colony. In the 'Encyclopedia of Australian art', Alan and Susan McCulloch credit May as 'largely responsible for setting the high standard of draughtsmanship attained by the black-and-white artists of the Sydney 'Bulletin'.' James Tyrrell, in his book 'Old books, old friends, old Sydney' (1952), wrote that whenever Phil May met the Reverand J Brophy, a retired clergyman and the main subject of this drawing: 'he would get him to pose for a sketch. The old gentleman never seemed to mind posing for Phil, and he was needy enough to welcome with thanks and a blessing, the invariable five-shilling model's fee which Phil passed on to him.'

A J Daplyn (1844-1926), to whom Phil May dedicated this drawing, was the first art instructor at the Royal Art Society School, Sydney 1885-92. He encouraged his students to paint en plein air and wrote the influential book 'Landscape painting from nature in Australia' (1902). Among his best known pupils were Charles Conder (1868-1909) and Sydney Long (1871-1955).

excerpt from Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, '19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels in the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005

Bibliography (10)

Bulletin News Co., Catalogue of drawings by Phil May for 'The Bulletin', Sydney, 1903, 63. cat.no. 466

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, 23 (illus.). cat.no. 7

Hendrik Kolenberg, The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990. cat.no. 54

Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 78, 79 (colour illus.).

Lionel Lindsay., Art in Australia [series 3, no. 68], 'Drawing and drawings in Australia', Sydney, 16 Aug 1937, 56 (illus.). titled 'Study of old man', detail

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 699

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Howard Hinton memorial exhibition, Sydney, 1948, 4. cat.no. 1

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1921, Sydney, 1921, 143. cat.no. 9; titled 'Sketches'; Presented by Mr. Howard Hinton 1915.

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1917, Sydney, 1917, 120. cat.no. 33; titled 'Portrait Sketches'; Presented by Mr. Howard Hinton 1916.

James R Tyrrell, Old books, old friends, old Sydney: the fascinating reminiscences of a Sydney bookseller, Sydney, 1952, between 36 and 37, 45. A photograph of Phil May and the Reverend J Brophy in Sydney in 1886 is reproduced.

Exhibition history (7)

150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938

Howard Hinton memorial exhibition (1948), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Apr 1948–30 Apr 1948

Some Australian drawings 1880-1980, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 May 1981–18 Jun 1981

The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Aug 1990–28 Oct 1990

Bohemians in the bush: the artists' camps of Mosman, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jun 1991–25 Aug 1991

Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1997–15 Mar 1998

19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005