# 41756

McLACHLAN, Phyllis (1905 - 1998)

“And one by one crept silently to rest” c. 1927

$4,500.00 AUD

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Watercolour with gold highlights on card, 232 x 207 mm; signed and dated ‘Phil McLachlan’ upper left, titled with the quote from Omar Khayyam lower centre, the quote further inscribed in the lower margin, trial pencil sketches verso, very good condition. Housed in a custom timber frame in period style by Philip Tregear, Melbourne.

A stunning original watercolour from the artist’s first solo exhibition, described as exuding ‘imaginative power, and a fine sense of design and colour in decorative art’.

Phyllis (Phil) McLachlan was a talented artist of the 1920s and 30s best known for her cover designs for The Home and Triad magazines. She left school at the age of sixteen, and studied painting with Thea Proctor and at the Julian Ashton Art School. She exhibited at the Society of Women Painters in 1924 and married noted naval officer and diplomat John Collins in 1930. McLachlan’s work is rare in the market or in public collections, however notably an archive of naval costume drawings is held by the Mitchell Library, who also acquired a fine watercolour of a ballet scene from us in 2011.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is a series of quatrains attributed to Persian astronomer Omar Khayyam dating circa 1120 AD, translated by Edward Fitzgerald and first published in London in 1859. They gained popularity towards the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, their romantic orientalist poetry gaining appeal alongside that of the pre-Raphaelites.

The title comes from the twenty-second quatrain:

For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.

This fine and detailed work was exhibited at the artist’s first solo exhibition at the recently constructed Boomerang House, Elizabeth Bay. The exhibition was favourably reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald, including a mention of the present work:

‘Miss Phil McLachlan, now giving her first art exhibition at the Australian Fine Arts Gallery, Boomerang House, Is an earnest, conscientious young artist, who in her chosen field of activity, decorative water-colours, exhibits decided originality, as well as judgement, in design and colour … The use of gold and silver adornment is well exemplified In “Layla and Magnun,” “Hassan,” and an illustration to ‘Omar Khayyam”; and “Finale,” … The exhibition reveals imaginative power, and, as has been said, a fine sense of design and colour in decorative art.’ – Sydney Morning Herald, 21 June 1927, p. 5.


Estate of the artist

Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney