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Breakfast piece



Herbert Badham


24 Jul 1899 - 1961


Studying under Julian Ashton, George W Lambert and Henry Gibbons at Ashton’s Sydney Art School, Herbert Badham received a traditional art training based on the primacy of draughtsmanship, to which he added a personal interest in perspective and design. Exemplifying this particular interest, 'Breakfast piece' is an arrangement of objects amongst which the artist has situated his wife. The painting’s tranquil morning mood, however, is counterpointed as the routine breakfast ‘props’ are juxtaposed with the newspaper headline announcing Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia.

Badham was one of a number of figurative painters in Sydney between the wars whose work typified an aspect of Sydney modernism that addressed contemporary subjects through predominantly English realist traditions.


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Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


59.0 x 71.0 cm board; 71.0 x 83.3 x 4.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, red oil "H BADHAM ''36 ["HB" monogram]".


Purchased 1936

Accession number


Artist information

Herbert Badham

Works in the collection


Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 16 publications


Ian Burn, National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, Sydney, 1990, 178, 179 (colour illus.). plate no. 139

Eileen Chanin, Art Network, 'Herbert Badham', pg. 20-21, Artarmon, Spring 1983, 21.

Christine Dixon, Herbert Badham 1899-1961, Wollongong, 1987, 12, 17 (colour illus.), 22. 15

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Classical allusions', pg. 135-136, Sydney, 2000, 135-136, 148 (colour illus.), 300.

Emma Glyde, Look, ‘Tea and the art of good taste’, pg. 22-23, Sydney, Sep 2012, 23 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 145 (colour illus.).

Rodney James., WARNING: Smoking has been linked to some of the most powerful images of the twentieth century, 'Come to where the flavour is, smoking, cigarettes + modernity', Mornington, 2006. List of works.

Heather Johnson, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, 'Reality or Religious Fantasy? Roy de Maistre and Herbert Badham', pg. 218-223, Brisbane, 1998, 222.

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. 161 [Gallery No. 2]

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 100

John Slater, Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'Suburbs: "The partial paradise"', pg. 175-205, Melbourne, 2004, 202, 203 (colour illus.), 204. 164

Linda Slutzkin, Interiors - from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1981, 4, 12-13, 20 (colour illus.). 12

Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 10. 51

Society of Artists, Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1936), Sydney, 1936. 66; priced 30 guineas

Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Art of Australia 1788-1941, New York, 1941, 44. 105; titled 'Breakfast'.

Gavin Wilson, Cuisine & country: a gastronomic venture in Australian art, 'Cuisine & Country', pg. 9-66, New South Wales, 2008, 28, 31 (colour illus.), 86.