27 Oct 1924 - 22 Jan 1983
William Fletcher was born and raised in the country town of Bellbird. He enlisted at the age of 17 in the Royal Australian Navy and saw active service. Although he largely eschewed the orthodox path of art schools, exhibitions and commerce by which reputations are forged, he did take some classes at East Sydney Technical and the Julian Ashton School after discharge in the 1940s. After several moves around Sydney he settled at Church Point in 1965 where he became a recluse until his death at the age of 58.
Fletcher focused mainly on flower studies and still life from the 1950s, including a few early fantasy and religious subjects, and rodeo, circus and city street scenes of the 1960s. Margaret Preston, Adrian Feint, David Strachan and Margaret Olley are perhaps better known for their depictions of similar subject-matter, however, in Fletcher's vision there is an intense, Ruskinian attention to the detail of flower forms which connects him with a timeless tradition of botanical art going back to European masters of previous centuries.
oil on hardboard
50.0 x 60.0 cm board; 78.5 x 88.5 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r., orange oil "Fletcher". Not dated.
Gift of the William Fletcher Foundation 2008
Not on display
Shown in 2 exhibitions
An exhibition of paintings by William Fletcher, Macquarie Galleries, Canberra, Canberra, 18 Oct 1970–22 Oct 1970
William Fletcher: Australian wildflowers, still life and streetscapes, Australian Galleries, Sydney, Paddington, 07 Oct 2006–11 Oct 2006
Referenced in 5 publications
Trevor Andersen and Robin Wines (Editors), William Ernest Fletcher 1924-1983, Sydney, 2006, front cover (colour illus.).
Australian Galleries, Sydney (Organiser), William Fletcher: Australian wildflowers, still life and streetscapes, Sydney, 2006, (colour illus.).
Trevor Andersen, William Fletcher, Sydney, 1983, 52, 57, 52 (colour illus.). cat.no. 726
Ian Mathews (Editor), The Canberra times, 'Native flora on canvas', Ainslie, 22 Oct 1970, (illus.).
Macquarie Galleries, Canberra (Editor), An exhibition of paintings by William Fletcher, Canberra, 1970. cat.no. 9