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Australian art

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Burnt landscape, Upwey no 1



Fred Williams

Australia, England

23 Jan 1927 - 22 Apr 1982


At the end of 1968, bushfires swept through the Dandenongs, one stopping less than one hundred meters from the Williams family home at Upwey. It was a terrifying experience that Williams recalled later as like 'living in a war'. However, the fires bore fruit artistically, as he devoted the rest of the year to works depicting the effects of the fire and its aftermath. In 'Burnt landscape, Upwey no. 1' and 'Burnt landscape, Upwey no. 2' the unaccustomed scale of the transformed landscape is revealed, its undergrowth stripped and its trees burnt away or laid bare by the flames.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005


Other Title

Upwey landscape



Media category


Materials used

gouache on ivory Arches paper


56.8 x 76.6 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed lower c., black gouache "Fred Williams.". Not dated.


Bequest of Professor Douglas Joseph 1990


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Fred Williams

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Helen Campbell, Wynne centenary 1897-1997: a selection of past winners from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997. not paginated

Jim Hoy, Larry Patton and Marty White (Editors), Symphony in the Flint Hills: Tenth Anniversary, Field Journal 2015, Volume VII, Cottonwood Falls, 2015, 45 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Sydney, 1995, 85 (colour illus.), 122. 76