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Australian art

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The miraculous draught of fishes - Luke 5



Jean Appleton


1911 - 11 Jun 2003


In a letter, dated 26 December 1960, to the curator of Australian art, Daniel Thomas, the artist wrote:

"The 'Miraculous Draught of Fishes' was begun at the end of 1959 and completed in January 1960. It was one of many paintings which I have been working on for the last two or three years in which the sea has been the major subject. The 'Miracuous Draught' was a theme that I had been concerned with for some time, and one which I hope to develop further. Of two accounts of a great draught of fishes in the New Testament, the dramatic beautry of the one in Luke, with the breaking of the nets and the sinking ships, seemed to have a sort of tension and richness which, to me (at that moment, anyway) had to be expressed in paint, rather than the calmer story as told in John, chapter 25".

The painting was awarded the Darcy Morris Memorial Prize for a scriptural subject at the 1960 Blake Prize competition, in which this work was entered and subsequently exhibited.

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


Other Title

The miraculous draught of fishes - Luke V

Place where the work was made

Pymble Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


91.5 x 121.9 cm board; 95.6 x 126.1 x 4.3 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Jean Appleton". Not dated.


Purchased 1960


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jean Appleton

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Blake Society for Religious Art, Blake Prize 1960, Sydney, 1960. 1; titled 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes'; price: 125 gns.

Deborah Edwards, Jean Appleton - A lifetime with art, 'The Constructed Interior', pg. 87-132, Sydney, 1998, 126, 127 (colour illus.).

Suellyn Luckett, Jean Appleton: Paintings 1945-1995, New South Wales, Sep 1996, Back cover (colour illus.).

Angus Maude (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 24 Feb 1960.

Angus Maude (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 23 Feb 1960, (illus.).

Unknown (Editor), Sun-Herald, Sydney, 24 Feb 1960.

Editor Unknown, Observer, Sydney, 05 Mar 1960.

Editor Unknown, Catholic weekly, Sydney, 03 Mar 1960.

Unknown (Editor), Sun, Sydney, 22 Feb 1960.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily Mirror, Sydney, 24 Feb 1960.