Portrait of Arthur Streeton by Henry Walter Barnett


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Henry Walter Barnett (Australian, 1862–1934), Falk Studios, Sydney
Portrait of Arthur Streeton, c. 1895
platinotype photograph mounted on card
photograph 14.5 × 10.0 cm
card mount 21.0 × 15.8 cm
Grainger Museum
University of Melbourne
M-H 11/1-34

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Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne

In 1893, the conductor and composer George William Louis Marshall-Hall (1862–1915) was invited to join Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and other painters at Curlew Camp in Sirius Cove, Mosman Bay, on Sydney Harbour’s north shore. The camp, designed for artists, was a cheap-and-cheerful affair, similar to a boarding house or college, with the beautiful surrounds of Sydney Harbour providing inspiration.

Today the friendship forged between Streeton and Marshall-Hall is visible through an assortment of objects; gifts of art, poetry, music and photography shared between the two have created a kind of time capsule dedicated to the artists’ camp. Marshall-Hall was said to have been so delighted with the experience that he dedicated his overture Giordano Bruno to Streeton, describing the work in visual terms related to the outdoor periods that he had spent with the artist. Streeton later claimed he was the first painter in Australia to meet the composer. In 1895 he presented Marshall-Hall with this photograph as a token of their friendship. Two years later, Marshall-Hall published Hymn to Sydney: Dedicated to Arthur Streeton in his camp at Mossman’s Bay.

The photograph was taken in portrait photographer Henry Barnett’s famous Falk Studios in Sydney. Open since 1887, Barnett’s studio had built up a reputation for photographs of visiting actors and actresses, including Sarah Bernhardt.

Teaching ideas

The University of Melbourne’s curriculum is rich and varied, and changes from year to year. For more teaching ideas, contact a collection manager.

Australian Art

Explore the works of art that came out of the Curlew Camp in Sydney, by artists such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts. Considering this and other artist camps of the time, what sort of influence would such a place have had on artists in Australia in the 1890s?

Australian Music

Study the works and career of G.W.L. Marshall-Hall and consider his academic and creative legacies to Australian music, such as the establishment of the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and the Marshall-Hall Orchestra.

Music History 3: Impressionism to Present

Study the music being composed or performed in Australia at the turn of the 20th century and consider the influence exerted by the bohemian community of musicians, and their peers in the visual arts and philosophy.

Exhibition Management

G.W.L. Marshall-Hall arranged Arthur Streeton’s first Sydney exhibition. Discuss the kind of unique contributions that curators from specialised fields (such as music, theatre or psychology) can bring to exhibitions and the different ways in which they might present the same objects.

Australian History

Study the thriving bohemian community in Australia at the turn of the 20th century and the individuals it comprised. What influence did such a network of artists, musicians and thinkers have on the art, music and thought of the time?

To learn more, visit the websites of the Grainger Museum, the Rare Books Collection and the Ian Potter Museum of Art.

Further reading

Thérèse Radic & Suzanne Robinson (eds), Marshall-Hall’s Melbourne: Music, art and controversy 1891–1915, Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2012.

Ann Galbally, Arthur Streeton, Melbourne: Lansdowne Editons, 1979.