10
Apr
11

Exhibition: ‘An Edwardian Summer: Sydney & beyond through the lens of Arthur Wigram Allen’ at the Museum of Sydney

Exhibition dates: 11th December 2010 – 25th April 2011

 

Many thankx to the Museum of Sydney for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All images © Arthur Wigram Allan, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW.

For more images please see the An Edwardian Summer website.

 

 

Arthur Wigram Allen. 'We left Medlow at 10.15 am & drove through Blackheath & Mt Victoria to Bathurst' Nd

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
We left Medlow at 10.15 am & drove through Blackheath & Mt Victoria to Bathurst
Nd
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

Arthur Wigram Allen. 'AWA & Boyce at lunch' Nd

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
AWA & Boyce at lunch
Nd
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

Arthur Wigram Allen. 'Kitty and Katha working at the drawn work' Nd

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
Kitty and Katha working at the drawn work
Nd
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

Arthur Wigram Allen. '11 November 1917 Mrs Frank Osborne and Miss Catterall wait in the back of one of Arthur Allens Detroit Electric broughams' 1917

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
11 November 1917 Mrs Frank Osborne and Miss Catterall wait in the back of one of Arthur Allens Detroit Electric broughams
1917
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

 

An Edwardian Summer, a new book and an exhibition opening 11th December 2010 at the Museum of Sydney showcases for the first time an extraordinary collection of photographs that capture Sydney at the turn of the century at one of the most rapidly changing times in Australia’s history.

A talented amateur photographer, lawyer and Sydney identity Arthur Wigram Allen was fascinated by the social and technological changes that occurred during his lifetime, 1862-1941. Allen created 51 albums now held by the State Library of NSW.

In 1885 after the sudden death of his father and uncle and at the age of just 23, Allen was thrust into the role of heading up the family law firm founded by his grandfather George Allen, known internationally today as Allens Arthur Robinson. While Allen’s photographs span 1890-1934, the book and exhibition concentrate on the Edwardian years, 1890s-1915, a brief often overlooked but important period in Australia’s history that heralded a new century of significant inventions and social changes, including powered flight, the rise of the motorcar and a new federated Australia.

Through Allen’s lens, we see the first mixed bathing on Sydney beaches, sporting events, pageants and processions, dramatic shipwrecks, the latest fashions as well as intimate family events such as motoring and harbour excursions and bush picnics. Meticulously captioned by Allen, his exquisitely personal and beautiful photographs capture a time of optimism and new ideas as Sydney emerged from the strict moral codes of the Victorian era.

Both the book and exhibition feature art works from the era by Australian artists including Arthur Streeton, Rupert Bunny, Grace Cossington Smith and Theodore Penleigh Boyd. The exhibition will also showcase items from the Historic Houses Trust collection and from the Powerhouse Museum, including examples of Edwardian fashion, children’s dress up costumes, jewellery and accessories and furniture.

Text from the Sydney Museum website [Online] Cited 08/04/2011 no longer available online

 

Sydney lawyer and identity Arthur Wigram Allen, a tirelessly enthusiastic photographer, was fascinated by the social and technological changes occurring during his lifetime. His talent for amateur photography produced extraordinary pictures that offer a fresh insight into the Edwardian years in Sydney.

The Edwardian era was sandwiched between the great achievements of the Victorian age and the global catastrophe of World War I. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 heralded a new century of significant inventions and social changes, including powered flight, the rise of the motorcar and a new federated Australia.

An Edwardian Summer will present a selection of Arthur Allen’s beautiful images, depicting intimate moments with family and friends, motoring and harbour excursions, theatrical celebrities, bush picnics, the introduction of surf bathing on Sydney beaches, processions, pageants and mass celebrations, and new freedoms in fashion. Most have never before been published, and they form an unrivalled personal pictorial record of these rapidly changing times.

The exhibition will also include artworks by Rupert Bunny, Ethel Carrick Fox, Arthur Streeton and Grace Cossington Smith, examples of male and female fashion including evening and day wear, motoring ensembles and children’s dress-up costumes, jewellery and accessories, furniture and decorative embellishments characteristic of the Edwardian era.

Text from the Sydney Museum website [Online] Cited 11/01/2020

 

Arthur Wigram Allen

Sydney lawyer and identity Arthur Wigram Allen, a tirelessly enthusiastic photographer, was fascinated by the social and technological changes occurring during his lifetime. His talent for amateur photography produced extraordinary pictures that offer a fresh insight into the Edwardian years in Sydney.

Arthur Wigram Allen was born in 1862 into a large family of wealthy Sydney solicitors. One of 11 children and third in a line of six boys he attended Sydney Grammar School before moving to Melbourne in 1880 to study law at Trinity College at the University of Melbourne. In 1885 after the sudden death of his two elder brothers Arthur assumed control of the familíes Sydney firm and many business interests.

Allen married Ethel Lamb in 1891 and they went on to have four children: Ethel Joyce, born in 1893, Arthur Denis Wigram in 1894, Ellice Margaret in 1896 and Marcia Maria in 1905.

Fascinated by the new inventions of the era, he became interested in photography, purchasing the latest cameras. He soon proved to be a talented amateur photographer, capturing images of his family and friends, the city and its surrounds.

Arthur died in 1941, aged 79; his photographs, taken from the 1890s through to 1934, provide a detailed photographic record of a changing society and the emergence of the great city of Sydney.

A man of extraordinary vitality, Allen was fascinated by the times in which he lived, and tried to photograph everything he saw: family and friends; visiting ships and theatrical celebrities; bush picnics; the first mixed bathing on Sydney beaches; dramatic shipwrecks; processions, pageants and mass celebrations; coal miners; domestic life and fashion; house interiors; and sporting events. These photographs, contained in 51 albums, are now held by the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, and provide a view of the dramatic changes that took place in Edwardian Sydney.

Arthur Allen’s photographs span 1890 to 1934, but the Edwardian Summer exhibition and book concentrate on those depicting the Edwardian years, a brief, often-overlooked but important period in Australia’s history. The photographs, most of them never published before, form an unrivalled personal pictorial record of these rapidly changing times.

Text from the An Edwardian Summer website [Online] Cited 11/01/2020

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967) 'Cecil Healy in the dinghy, 'Port Hacking', October 16 1904' 1904

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
Cecil Healy in the dinghy, ‘Port Hacking’, October 16 1904
1904
PX*D 575 negative 858
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

 

Cecil Healy (1881-1918) found fame as the captain of Manly Surf Club and a champion swimmer; he won gold and silver medals in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

Cecil Patrick Healy (28 November 1881 – 29 August 1918) was an Australian freestyle swimmer of the 1900s and 1910s, who won silver in the 100 m freestyle at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. He also won gold in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. He was killed in the First World War at the Somme during an attack on a German trench. Healy was the second swimmer behind Frederick Lane to represent Australia in Swimming and has been allocated the number “2” by Swimming Australia on a list of all Australians who have represented Australia at an Open International Level. (Text from the Wikipedia website)

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967) '[Roller skating on the verandah at Moombara]' Nd

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
[Roller skating on the verandah at Moombara]
Nd
PX*D575 negative 836
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

 

Roller skating on the verandah at Moombara, September 24, 1904. “Ethel and I and the children came down this afternoon for the Michaelmas holidays bringing Janet & Bob Rabete also. Immediately on arrival Joyce, Denis & Bob began to skate on the verandah and they used Janet & Margaret as horses to pull them along. Margaret also had some splendid rides on her tricycle”

Perhaps the greatest joy for the Allen children was the family’s waterfront holiday house, Moombara, where they played, swam, rode horses and roller skated around the verandah. Roller skating was a popular pastime of the era, with numerous rinks being built from the inner city to the beaches in the late 1880s. The Sydney Skating Club was formed in 1906 and skating displays were a common form of entertainment.

Text from An Edwardian Summer website

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967) 'This afternoon Marcia Lamb [centre] and I took Lord Orford and Lady Dorothy Walpole [right], also Nell Knox [left] for a drive to South Head, Bondi and Coogee' February 22, 1911

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
This afternoon Marcia Lamb [centre] and I took Lord Orford and Lady Dorothy Walpole [right], also Nell Knox [left] for a drive to South Head, Bondi and Coogee
February 22, 1911
PX*D594 negative 4188
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

Brief stop on a drive to South Head, Bondi and Coogee, February 22, 1911. As Sydneysiders embraced the outdoors, they began picnicking at every opportunity, flocking to local beauty spots or favourite retreats such as Coogee Beach. Although the beach was thronged with bathers and spectators, Coogee’s headland provided a quieter spot for picnicking and, for Arthur Allen, taking photographs. Seen here is his camera equipment, including the box of his Guardia and Newman camera that took 5 x 4 inch (13 x 10 cm) photographic plates. The women are wearing elaborate motoring hats with scarves, which were also useful for securing their hats on a windy cliff to prevent their hair from blowing out of style.

Text from An Edwardian Summer website

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967) 'Walter resting after lunch' November 19, 1898

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
Walter resting after lunch
November 19, 1898
PX*D566 negative 3649
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

 

Renowned for its beauty, the Illawarra district was home to towering forests of turpentine and fig trees and tangled, dense stands of ferns and cabbage palms, tinted by the conspicuous red flowers of the Illawarra flame tree. Arthur Allen, his brother Walter and brother-in-law Rex travelled in a horsedrawn wagonette to Bulli, a small coal-mining town in the northern Illawarra, via the steep Bulli Pass road, which was built in 1867. The journey down the Bulli Pass afforded many spectacular views of the south coast.

Text from An Edwardian Summer website

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967) 'One of the new boilers just installed at the mine' November 22, 1907

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
One of the new boilers just installed at the mine
November 22, 1907
PX*D581 negative 2403
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

 

Arthur Allen. One of the new boilers just installed at the mine. November 22, 1907.

Mt Kembla was one of a series of towns established in the Illawarra region in the mid 19th century after coal mining began at nearby Mt Keira in 1848. The first coal export from the Illawarra left Wollongong harbour in 1849 destined for Sydney. Coal was mined at Mt Kembla from 1865, and in 1880 the Mount Kembla Coal and Oil Company was formed, building a loading wharf at Port Kembla in 1883 and installing a rail link from Mount Kembla to Port Kembla in 1886. By 1900, the Illawarra mines employed 2300 men. In 1902 a disastrous gas explosion, caused by the naked flames of the miners’ torches, killed 94 men.

Text from An Edwardian Summer website

 

Arthur Wigram Allen. 'Joyce preparing to dive 15 January 1905' 1905

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
Joyce preparing to dive 15 January 1905
1905
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

Arthur Wigram Allen. 'Another who is not quite so sure' Nd

 

Arthur Wigram Allen (Australian, 1894-1967)
Another who is not quite so sure
Nd
Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

 

Museum of Sydney
cnr Bridge & Phillip Streets, Sydney

Opening hours:
Open daily 9.30 am – 5 pm

An Edwardian Summer website

Historic Houses Trust Museum of Sydney website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top


1 Response to “Exhibition: ‘An Edwardian Summer: Sydney & beyond through the lens of Arthur Wigram Allen’ at the Museum of Sydney”


  1. 1 john porter
    April 13, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I was impressed by the way M.O.S. staff have presented this material from a bygone era. The photographer was, in my opinion, ahead of his time. He obviously had the finance to further his hobby, and too, I’m sure by the quality of the photos, had some of the best equipment available to him at that time. Nonetheless, his talent as a photographer comes out in his camera angles, and composition. His exposures (particularly at the beach, where high contrast would have been a problem) were spot on. I’m sure that the photos have been “worked on” by exhibition presenters to get the best from the available material, but one cannot take credit from a man who painstakingly left a record of life in his time. Thanks, M.O.S. for a great and rewarding exhibition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email me at bunyanth@netspace.net.au and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Join 2,683 other followers

If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email Marcus at bunyanth@netspace.net.au and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Lastest tweets

April 2011
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

Categories


%d bloggers like this: