This is Reginald Sturgess

By Gwylym Owen

Reginald Ward Sturgess (18 June 1892 – 2 July 1932) was an Australian artist.

Sturgess was born in 1892 in the Melbourne suburb of Newport, Victoria, the son of cabinet maker Edward Sturgess and his wife Emma (née Ward), migrants from Bath, England. Sturgess had three brothers and a sister, but one brother died in England since the intimates migrated, and the additional brother died soon after the family’s arrival in Australia. Sturgess was the youngest child, and the abandoned one born in Australia. The relations was excited in the arts, particularly Sturgess’ father, but moreover his elder sister Florence, who went upon to become a thriving pianist. Edward Sturgess was a great craftsman, having upon one occasion decorated a carriage for Queen Victoria, but the economic slump of the 1890s later than the house boom in Victoria led to a want of business, and he on your own cabinet making for a seed issue in 1893.

Sturgess was educated at the Williamstown South State School, in the next suburb of Williamstown, before desertion school at the age of twelve. In 1905, Sturgess enrolled in the art schools at the National Gallery of Victoria, with the back up of novelist and Williamstown local Ada Cambridge, who had noticed his artistic talents. There, Sturgess studied drawing under Frederick McCubbin in the School of Design, and from 1909, painting below Lindsay Hall. Sturgess won several prizes while at the Gallery, including first prize for a drawing of a head from dynamism in 1909, second prize for a painting of still life in 1910, and first prize for landscape painting in 1911.

Sturgess spent much times while at moot sketching taking into consideration his friend, noted portraitist Percy Leason. He then attended students’ camps at Mount Macedon and Malmsbury, an area he would innovative visit frequently to paint. The female students at the camp would usually stay in the same way as the family of Meta Townsend, a Malmsbury local who was as a consequence a student at the Gallery from 1909 to 1914, while the male students would camp at the disused Coliban Flour Mill, the oldest mill in the district, a stone building with a waterwheel, set in farmland following many archaic farm buildings concerning which would become regular subject thing for the pubescent artists.

Sturgess left the schools at the gallery in 1912, and began painting upon his own, supporting his art by selling painted decorative lampshades, and by functioning in his father’s seed issue in Williamstown. He was furthermore briefly a assistant professor at Williamstown Grammar School. Sturgess managed the seed business upon his own behind his father’s death in 1916. On 30 July 1917, Sturgess married Meta Townsend at the Anglican church in Malmsbury. The couple would future have one daughter together, Elizabeth, born in 1919.

Sturgess associated the Victorian Artists’ Society in 1921. Nine of his paintings were included in the Society’s May exhibition, and different six in the September exhibition, but there was little early interest in his perform from buyers, despite relatively low prices. However, he had more triumph from a joint exhibition later Granville Dunstan at the Athenaeum, also in September 1921, and in July 1922 he held his first solo exhibition, at the Athenaeum. It was successful, pleasing collectors and critics, who were impressed as soon as his poetic (as adjacent to realistic) approach, and his convincing depiction of atmospheric effects.

Sturgess exhibited regularly in Melbourne, at the Athenaeum in 1923 and 1924, and in the tune of that at the gallery of the Victorian Fine Art Society. He along with showed in Adelaide, South Australia in 1926-1927 and in Sydney, New South Wales in 1928–1929. These exhibitions were along with successful,

Sturgess was upset in a car accident in 1926, breaking his jaw, and although he recovered his health was affected. Sturgess closed the seed issue in 1926 to concentrate entirely on his painting, but by 1930 his fading eyesight irritated him to meet the expense of it up. Sturgess eventually became ill, and died in 1932 at his Williamstown home. According to some accounts the cause of death was a cerebral tumour, probably brought on by the motorcycle accident, although no autopsy was performed, and Sturgess’ doctors were never practiced to agreed explain his ill-health in the years preceding his death. Sturgess was buried in the Williamstown cemetery, and was survived by Meta and Elizabeth.

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