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Australian art

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The ferry

(circa 1910-circa 1911)


E Phillips Fox

Australia, France

12 Mar 1865 - 08 Oct 1915


E Phillips Fox, one of a generation of late 19th-century Australian expatriates in Europe, is renowned for his cosmopolitan and superbly coloured images painted in Paris.

'The ferry' is the artist’s masterpiece. It was developed from rapid sketches that Fox painted outdoors at Trouville, a favourite beach resort in the north of France, and was completed in his Paris studio the following winter. Fox positions the viewer as if peering down to the elegant boating
party and immerses us in a sumptuous, genteel world of vibrant colours, luscious fabric textures and warm summer atmosphere.

Originally exhibited in Paris and London, 'The ferry' also influenced a younger generation of Australian modernist artists when it was exhibited in Sydney in 1913.



(circa 1910-circa 1911)

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


114.6 x 152.4 cm stretcher; 141.5 x 179.2 x 12.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, black paint "E.Phillips Fox". Not dated.


Purchased 1949

Accession number


Artist information

E Phillips Fox

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 27 publications


Anthony Hordern & Sons, Ltd., Catalogue of an Exhibition of Oil Paintings by the Late E. Phillips Fox and of Ethel Carrick (Mrs. E. Phillips Fox), Sydney, 1925. 11; priced 300 guineas

Ian Burn, National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, 'A land of faded things', pg. 27-60, Sydney, 1990, 56 (colour illus.), 57, 213. plate no. 39

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian Art in the Old Courts', pg. 24-37, Sydney, 1984, 29 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 66-67 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon AM, OBE, I blame Duchamp: my life's adventures in art, 'John Bull and the Little Boy at Manly', pg. 321-333, Sydney, 2009, 328.

Betty Churcher, Australian notebooks, 'Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 45-90, Melbourne, 2014, 44-45 (colour illus., detail), 66 (colour illus.), 67, 70, 254, 255.

Georgina Downey, Art, love and life: Ethel Carrick and E Phillips Fox, 'Cosmopolitans and expatriates', pg. 57-65, Brisbane, 2011, 57, 58 (colour illus.).

Mary Eagle, Creating Australia: 200 years of art 1788-1988, '"Nature Must be There"', pg.166-167, Melbourne, 1988, 8, 166, 167 (colour illus.), 237-238, 245.

Deborah Edwards, Look, 'Beauties of the Belle Epoque in Australia', pg. 16-18, Sydney, May 2011, 16-17 (colour illus.), 18.

Brian Finemore, Painting, London, 1961, 14 (illus.).

Anne Gérard, Look, 'Oz arts: our painters in the Parsi Salons', pg. 37-39, Sydney, Dec 2006-Jan 2007, 39.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 131 (colour illus.).

Alexandra Joel, Parade: The story of fashion in Australia, 'Towards a New world', pg. 59-75, Pymble, 1998, 65 (colour illus.).

Clem Lloyd and Peter Sekuless, Australia's national collections, Sydney, 1980, 258 (colour illus.).

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 27 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 10-16, Sydney, 2000, 15, 73 (colour illus.), 74, 80 (colour illus.), 81 (colour illus., detail), 300.

Barry Pearce, Look, 'Jewel of a painting returns: Out of Australian sight for nearly ninety years', pg. 12-13, Sydney, Mar 2010, 12.

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 20, 23 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Introduction: Convergent Spirits', pg. 10-19, Sydney, 2002, 12, 26, 28, 31 (colour illus.), 143, 147.

Roslyn Russell (Editor), Museum National, 'Parallel Visions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 8, Fitzroy, May 2002, 8 (colour illus.).

John Slater, Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'The city observed to the city experienced', pg. 71-100, Melbourne, 2004, 79.

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Society's "perfect memorial" to Margaret Olley: flowers and an artist whose work she loved', pg. 15, Sydney, Nov 2011, 15, 49 (colour illus.).

Susan Venn, Roy and Matilda - The Golden Locket, Canterbury, 1994, colour illus..

Ruth Zubans, Painted women - Australian artists in Europe at the turn of the century, ''Mr and Mrs E Phillips Fox: images of women in the work of Emanuel Phillips Fox and Ethel Carrick Fox', pg. 15-18, Western Australia, 1998, 17.

Important Australian art, Sydney, 28 Aug 2018, 87 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), Age, 'Notable paintings on display', pg. 2, Melbourne, 24 Jun 1949, 2 (b&w illus.). AN EXHIBITION of the paintings of the late E. Phillips Fox was opened in the National Gallery yesterday. The Ferry, one of his best works, is being inspected by Mr. Robert Haines, assistant director of the gallery, and other enthusiasts.

Catalogue of pictures by the late E. Phillips Fox, Melbourne, 1916. 15