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Australian art

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On the deck



Roy de Maistre

Australia, England

27 Mar 1894 - 01 Mar 1968


This painting was derived from a photograph of the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson honeymooning on the deck of their yacht. It depicts the two abstracted figures in the centre of the composition, framed and isolated by lines and shadows. Exemplifying de Maistre’s geometric-cubist style, the work is formed out of solid curves of funnels, wires and gunwales. Shadows echo and extend these curves, which intersect with the straight lines of other structures and create geometric forms of flat colour.

De Maistre created some of his most resolved paintings during the mid 1930s, living in England. The artist had left Australia unable to make a living solely from his practice.


Other Titles

On board (On the deck)

On board



Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


51.0 x 61.0 cm board; 57.2 x 67.1 x 4.1 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, incised "R de Maistre". Not dated.


Gift of Patrick White 1974


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Roy de Maistre

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 9 publications


Dr David Hansen, Important Australian and International Art: Melbourne 22 November 2011, Catalogue entry for Lot 12 Roy de Maistre 'La Folie', pg. 30-31, Melbourne, 2011, 30.

Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'Australia in the World and the World in Australia 1930-1939', pg. 57-95, Melbourne, 2009, 61 (colour illus.).

Helen Verity Hewitt, Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'Strangers in the Motherland', pg. 5-19, Carlton, 2002, xi, 11, 14, following 48 (colour illus.), 130, 177.

Heather Johnson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Roy de Maistre / Roland Wakelin', pg. 48-59, Sydney, 2002, 54, 143.

Heather Johnson, Roy de Maistre: The english years, New South Wales, 1995, 93, 107, 122, 124-125. plate no. 36 shows a study of figures for 'On the deck'

David Marr, Patrick White: A life by David Marr, Milsons Point, 1991, 169-170, 262.

Sir John Rothenstein and Bryan Robertson, Roy de Maistre: A retrospective exhibition of paintings and drawings from 1917-1960, London, 1960, 12. 36; Coll: Patrick White, Esq.

Jill Sykes, Look, 'Small and temporary: but it's a big pointer to the future', pg. 28-29, Sydney, Sep 2011, 28, 29 (colour illus.).

Daniel Thomas AM (Curator), Project 14: Roy de Maistre 1894-1968, Sydney, 1976. 10