From her mid-career onwards Thea Proctor made numerous portrait and figure drawings of friends, lodgers and as commissions, necessary to earn her living. Drawing had always been the most regular and consistent activity of her artistic practice, influenced in part by the importance it held for her great friend and fellow artist George Lambert.
Proctor was born in Armidale, NSW in 1879, and began her art studies in 1896 at Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School, a contemporary of Elioth Gruner, Sydney Long and George Lambert (with whom she developed a close friendship). Her early work revealed her interest in design, producing mural and poster designs, book plates and illustrations for 'The Australian Magazine'. In 1903 she left for London, where she was to stay for eighteen years (with the exception of one visit home between 1912 and 1914). She studied at the St Johns Wood School , and moved in social circles with writers, musicians and artists including Charles Conder, Wilson Steer, William Orpen and Augustus John. She exhibited with the New English Art Club, the Royal Academy and at the Goupil and Grafton Galleries.
Upon her return to Australia in 1921, she became a prominent and vocal figure in Sydney art circles, championing design with a tempered modernism, and was closely involved with Sydney Ure Smith's 'Home' magazine as illustrator, author and taste-maker. She taught, wrote and lectured on art, design and interior decoration, and was an active member of artists' groups - on the selection committee of the Society of Artists, and with George Lambert helped found the Contemporary Group in 1926. Proctor was an active draughtswoman to the end of her life.
sanguine on cream wove paper
45.6 x 29.2 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed l.r., sanguine "Thea Proctor". Not dated.
Gift of Thea Waddell 2003
Not on display