STURGESS, Reginald Ward (1892-1932)
‘Clung to his unstable refuge and waited upon fate’. Page 35.
Illustration inspired by the novel the The Haunters of the silences by Canadian writer Charles G.D. Roberts. Watercolour on paper, 155 x 115 mm (sheet), signed and dated ‘A.W. Sturgess 1913’, artist’s caption in lower margin of sheet; in very good condition; framed (verso with annotations by Sturgess’ daughter, Beth Sinclair).
Melbourne artist R.W. Sturgess studied drawing and painting at the National Gallery school, where he completed his studies in 1912. His style was strongly influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, but initially his creative output was limited to the commercial sphere, in particular painted lampshade decoration. His first solo exhibition, held at the Athenaeum in 1922, was well received and followed by further exhibitions in Victoria and interstate throughout the 1920s.
Two major surveys of Sturgess’ work have been published: R.W. Sturgess : Water-colourist 1892-1932, by Peter Perry and Beth Sinclair (Castlemaine Art Gallery, 1986); and The life and work of R.W. Sturgess by R.H. Croll (Melbourne : The Fine Arts Society, 1938). Croll noted: ‘His untimely death was a loss to us all. His monument to posterity remains in the pictures he produced, which as time goes on will steadily be sought for and increase in interest and value’ (p.11).
According to his daughter and biographer, Beth Sinclair, who annotated the back of the frame, the Ballarat Art Gallery holds a further six of Sturgess’ illustrations for The Haunters of the silences.
Provenance: Estate of the artist’s daughter, Beth Sinclair.