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Australian art

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Bacchanal or The vintage festival



Norman Lindsay


23 Feb 1879 - 21 Nov 1969


The eroticism of Lindsay's images defied the pervasive hypocrisy and wowserism of the time. Rubery Bennett, the artist's agent gave the following account of a bishop's response to Lindsay's subjects:

"A Bishop came in one day accompanied by a lesser dignitary of the church and asked could he see some of Norman's etchings - afterwards I thought he probably meant Lionel's. However, we had a big folio and we used to allow the lid to fall down and let the etchings fall flat on the lid. He saw about four or five and then he slammed the folio shut and in a most outraged and dignified manner told me that they were frightful, vulgar and obscene, in fact, that they reminded him of a lot of prostitutes. My reply was that I bowed to his superior knowledge as I had never seen a nude prostitute. When I told Norman he said 'Bloody Liar!'. "


Other Title

The vintage festival



Media category


Materials used

pencil, pen and black ink on ivory wove paper


28.2 x 25.3 cm image; 32.6 x 28.4 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r., pen and black ink "NORMAN LINDSAY". Not dated.


Purchased 1943


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Norman Lindsay

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 8 publications


Deborah Edwards, Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art, 'The Antipodean Arcady / 'When Pan purloined Apollo's lyre'', pg. 8-31, Sydney, Sep 1989, 18 (illus.), 19, 63.

Farmer & Co Limited (Compilator), Catalogue exhibition and sale of paintings by Arthur Streeton, Sydney, Nov 1923, 10, 14 (illus.). 6; titled 'The Bacchanal'

Gavin Fry, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'J.J. Hilder / Blamire Young / Norman Lindsay', pg. 72-87, Sydney, 2002, 82, 83 (colour illus.), 145, 147.

Hendrik Kolenberg, The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990. 48

New South Wales Society of Artists, Society of Artists Exhibition, New South Wales, 1907. 17. Entry as "A Bacchanal. Black and White, 15gns."

Ursula Prunster, The legendary Lindsays, Sydney, 1995, 37 (illus.).

Sydney Ure Smith and Leon Gellert (Editors), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 40], Sydney, 15 Oct 1931. plate no. 14. Entry as "Bacchanal. In the possession of Arthur Streeton Esq."

Author Unknown, Pen Drawings of Norman Lindsay, Sydney, 1918. plate no. XIX. Entry as "Bacchanal. 1905. Collection of Arthur Streeton."