Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tangled Tulips

Pictured above: Tangled Tulips, 2023, linocut with Chine collé, 15 x 10 cm, edition: 40, followed by my primary references for the work. 

Below: May Morris, design for an embroidered panel for a folding screen. From Chain Stitch Embroidery, featured in the visual arts periodical The Hobby Horse (3), 1888. 

Pictured below: Three-fold embroidered screen with mahogany panels, designed by J.H. Dearle and May Morris for Morris & Co, c. 1888. 

A strictly limited number of Tangled Tulips and other linocuts in this series are available for purchase at the Art Gallery of Ballarat shop during the run of the exhibitions Pre-
Raphaelites Drawings and Watercolours from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and In the Company of Morris.

Further information will follow shortly. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Poster Girls in Collingwood


Pictured top: Hanging with Marie Spartali Stillman in Smith Street, Collingwood in inner city Melbourne, my old stomping ground. I wonder what William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites would make of the setting? 

Many thanks to Paul Compton for this great shot. A cropped detail is below. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023



The Ballarat Heritage Festival is my favourite time of year in this corner of the world. Here are a handful of personal highlights from the past weekend, culled from many and posted in no particular order. Pictured above: the Ballarat Vintage and Classic Car Club in Lydiard Street directly across from the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Directly following:

A fascinating and illuminating tour of the joint exhibitions Pre-Raphaelites Drawings and Watercolours and In the Company of Morris at the Art Gallery of Ballarat led by AGB Gallery Director, Louise Tegart:

Master weaver Tim Gresham and his tapestries at Craft Lab 23 in the Ballarat Mining Exchange in Lydiard Street. Pictured L-R: Shane Jones, Annie Drum, Carole Wilson and Tim Gresham:

The Music of Images, a wonderful concert in the elegant Oddie Gallery at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Led by composer and pianist Richard Chew, the Inscape Piano Trio performed a series of pieces centred around P.R.B., a new work created to mark the opening of the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition:

The Fops from legendary theatre group, Born in a Taxi and vintage motorcycles spanning the centuries in Lydiard Street:

Vintage cars in Lydiard Street North:

Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling at work in her studio at The Lost Ones Makers Studios in Camp Street:

Rocket and Belle in nearby Mair Street is always worth a visit. Leah’s amazing installation of vintage objects created especially for the Heritage Festival is highly recommended:

Shane and and I were delighted that The Pacific Belles have returned to the Ballarat Heritage Festival. They are primarily inspired by the Andrews Sisters, although Dot, Betty and Mabel (their stage names) are superlative performers in their own right:

We love their work and were thrilled to meet them after their final performance this afternoon. We do hope they’ll be back again next year. 

Photo credit for above shot: Sue Clarke. 

We’ve enjoyed every minute of this year’s festival and it’s not over yet. The Ballarat Heritage Festival continues to Sunday, May 28.

Sunday, May 21, 2023


Here are few snaps of Friday evening’s launch of the terrific joint exhibitions Pre-Raphaelites Drawings and Watercolours from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and In the Company of Morris at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. As a huge admirer of so many of the artists in both exhibitions, I’m anticipating multiple revisits. 

It was a thrill to see my painting Three Women hanging in such fine company. I had no idea my work Ex Votive Offerings was also part of In the Company of Morris until Shane Jones pointed it out to me. When I moved in for a closer look, I discovered it is hanging between works by Christian Waller and Napier Waller, two of my heroes. To say I was over the moon would be putting it mildly. 

We had some great conversations with a great many people and as a result neglected to take many photos. The shots in this post give little indication of the quality of the exhibitions or the stunning exhibition design. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of planning and work that was involved. Kudos to everyone at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

The evening was a memorable overture to the annual Ballarat Heritage Festival, which began yesterday.

Photos 1-8 above:

With my painting Three Women in In the Company of Morris. (Photo credit: Shane Jones);


My work Ex Votive Offerings, 2002, screen print on sized Chinese silk sewn with needle threaders. Collection: Art Gallery of Ballarat;


The same work, flanked by drawings by Christian Waller and relief prints by Napier Waller;


Opening night speeches;


Hanging with local artists Toni Louise and Holly Would. Toni Louise is one of the team who hung the works in these shows, a colossal undertaking;


Installation view. Foreground left: Call of the Siren, ceramic vessel by Belinda Michael and Tiffany Titshall;


Far left: David Glenn, foreground: Vince Alessi and Shane Jones, far right: Anne Rowland and Peter Freund; 


Shane and I at the evening’s end. (Photo credit: Edward Coleridge).

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Opening this Saturday: Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris


I’m very much looking forward to previewing Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris at the Art Gallery of Ballarat tomorrow evening, ahead of the first day of the exhibitions on Saturday 20 May.

I first came to know and love the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and their contemporaries when I lived in London in the 1970s. 

One of the paintings I remember most vividly from my frequent visits to the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) is Ophelia (1850-1851) by one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896). In recent years, I’ve developed a particular interest in the women of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, including the model for Ophelia, Lizzie Siddal (1829-1862). Siddal modelled for several members of the group before becoming model, muse and eventually wife to another PRB founder, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). A poet and largely self-taught artist of considerable promise, she was the only woman to exhibit at the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition in 1857. Plagued by ill health, her life was cut short by a laudanum overdose at age 32. I’m excited that Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours includes her drawing Pippa Passes. 

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Siddal, Pippa Passes, 1854, pen & brown ink on off-white paper, 23.3 x 29 cm. 

Collection Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

From the Art Gallery of Ballarat website:

In conjunction with the Ashmolean Museum exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours, In the Company of Morris showcases an exhibition of historical and contemporary Australian artworks demonstrating the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites and in particular William Morris.

William Morris, the Pre Raphaelite polymath, visionary thinker, designer, writer, artist, poet, environmental crusader and social activist, was one of the most important and inspiring figures of the 19th century. He believed in the rights of every individual to improve the world and that good design should be available for all as summed up in his statement ‘I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few’. In reaction to the Industrial Revolution Morris argued for a return to nature rejecting mass production and commercialism and championing all things handmade. He imagined a future where the world would have ‘a new art, a glorious art, made by the people and for the people’. Morris championed the beauty of handcraft methods based on medieval craft societies and as an active socialist he promoted the artist or maker being involved in all aspects of an artwork’s manufacture….

In the Company of Morris features work by Louis Abrahams, Janet Beckhouse, Glenn Barkley, George Baxter, Stephen Bird, Frederick Cartwright, Dagmar Cyrulla, Emma Davies, Robert Dowling, HH Floate, Emily Floyd, Cathy Franzi, Web Gilbert, Lucy Hardie, Fiona Hiscock, Henry James Johnstone, Louiseann King, Deborah Klein, Emma Van Leest, Lionel Lindsay, Norman Lindsay, Percy Lindsay, Ruby Lindsay, Marguerite Mahood, ex de medici, Belinda Michael, Ernest Moffitt, Alice J Muskett, Julie Nash, Klytie Pate, Ana Petidis, Elizabeth Pulie, Charles Douglas Richardson, Kate Rohde, Gwen Scott, Bernhard Smith, William Strutt, Philippa Taylor, Kati Thamo, Tiffany Titshall, Christian Waller, Napier Waller, Carole Wilson, Thomas Woolner, Jemima Wyman and Paul Yore.

Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris run from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 6 August.

Pictured top: Exhibition invitation. 

Left panel:  Deborah Klein, Three Women, (Detail), 2021, synthetic polymer paint on linen.

Right panel: Marie Spartali StillmanCloister Lilies, 1891, watercolour and body colour.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Common thread


One of my favourite textiles by May Morris is Maids of Honour. Over the past few years the version of her embroidery featured in this post has piqued my imagination to the extent that it became the source of inspiration for a drawing, a small painting (the study for a larger work currently in progress) and most recently, a linocut (pictured top).

Recently I discovered a remarkable connection between Maids of Honour and the artist Marie Spartali Stillman, whose work appears next to mine on the poster for the upcoming exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ballarat: Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris

On re-reading the exhibition catalogue, May Morris Arts & Crafts Designer, I noticed for the first time that the embroidery, now in the collection of Kelmscott Manor, was previously owned by Marie Spartali Stillman.

Pictured above, 1-5: 

Deborah Klein, Maid of Honour 2, 2023, linocut with Chine collé, 15 x 10 cm, Ed. 40.

Deborah Klein, Maid of Honour, 2020, ink, gouache watercolour and water soluble graphite, 42 x 30 cm. Private collection.

Deborah Klein, Maid of Honour (study), 2023, acrylic on canvas on board 10 x 10 cm. Currently part of the exhibition One Hundred Faces at Playing in the Attic, running until late May. 

Poster for the joint exhibitions Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. The exhibitions open this Saturday, 20 May, and run to 6 August.

Maids of Honour, c. 1890, coloured silks on silk, designed and embroidered by May Morris. Collection: Kelmscott Manor, given by Frances Stillman. (Page view from May Morris Arts & Crafts Designer).

Monday, May 15, 2023


Pictured top: Vine, 2023, linocut with Chine collé, 20 x 15 cm, edition: 40. From a series of relief prints celebrating the work of British Arts and Crafts designer and maker, May Morris.

In keeping with the present transitional season, the tattoo is based on a detail (pictured above) from her magnificent embroidered panel Autumn and Winter, 1895-1900 (pictured below). 

Photo credit for image 3: Andy Scott via Wikimedia Commons:,_Autumn_and_Winter.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023


Pictured above L-R: Lotus, 2023, Linocut with Chine collé, 20 x 15 cm, Edition 1/40 (cropped), paired with its doppelgänger, the block from which it was printed.

My protagonist’s tattoos are based on elements of Lotus, circa 1895, an embroidered panel or curtain, one of a pair attributed to British Arts and Crafts doyenne, May Morris. (Collection: V&A). 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

THREE WOMEN acquired by the Art Gallery of Ballarat

In recent happy news, my painting Three Women has been acquired by the Art Gallery of Ballarat. 

The triptych will be part of the gallery’s upcoming exhibition, In the Company of Morris, presented in conjunction with the international exhibition, Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings and Watercolours from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

In the Company of Morris comprises diverse works by historical and contemporary artists that reflect the enduring legacy of William Morris, all of them drawn from the gallery’s permanent collection. Among the artists are: Norman Lindsay, Deborah Klein, Elizabeth Pulie, William Strutt, Fiona Hiscock, Christian Waller, Napier Waller, Kate Rohde, Thomas Woolner, Bernhard Smith, Carole Wilson, Alice Muskett, Gwen Scott, Louiseann King, Stephen Bird, Janet Beckhouse and Emily Floyd. 

My painting pays homage to the work of William Morris’s younger daughter, May Morris, an artisan, jewellery, wallpaper and embroidery designer, editor, socialist and educator, who has only recently emerged from her father’s shadow. 

The exhibitions open on 20 May and run to 6 August

Pictured top: Deborah Klein, Three Women, 2021, (triptych), acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm, (each panel). 
Photo credit: Tim Gresham.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Tulips Part 2


Pictured above: Tulips, 2023, linocut with Chine collé, 20 x 15 cm, ed. 40, final work from a series of six. 

The point of departure for my protagonist’s body decoration was Tulip, an embroidered sideboard runner designed by May Morris in 1890. Tulip was originally an embroidery kit made for distribution through Morris & Co. Morris would subsequently incorporate motifs from her design into other works. 

An early process view of the lino block is pictured below, followed by a detail of Tulip by May Morris. (Collection: V&A, London).

For additional progress views of the lino blocks, visit Tulips, Blog Post 28 February, 2023.