The Artists

Elizabeth Parsons


Born England 1831, arrived Australia 1870, died 1897

oil on canvas, 50 x 75.5 cm
Private Collection

Lorne is a popular tourist resort on the shores of Bass Strait, situated 140 kilometres south west of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road. The township is nestled between the Angahook-Lorne Park and Loutit Bay.

The Kolahngat (Volijon) Aborigines are thought to have occupied the area before European settlement.

Originally the area was given the name Loutit or Loutit Bay after Captain Loutit who called there while on a voyage to London in 1841, with reportedly the first consignment of wool from Geelong.

In 1869 (although some records have 1871), the name of the township was changed to Lorne. Some say that it was named after the Marquis of Lorne, while others say that it was named after the town in Argyllshire, Scotland. The bay however, on which Lorne stands, retained the name, Loutit Bay.

Elizabeth Parsons visited Lorne over the Christmas, New Year period of 1879-80, and there produced a number of oils and watercolours, depicting Lorne and Loutit Bay. Among the works she produced were a watercolour of 'Lorne Jetty', painted in 1879, and another watercolour 'View Across Loutit Bay', painted in 1880 which depicts very much the same view as her oil 'Loutit Bay', painted in 1879 and reproduced here.

Elizabeth Parsons probably ventured to Lorne on the Cobb & Co. coach service that had recently been established to this area of the coast, to meet the demand from Lorne's increasing popularity as a health and holiday resort for tourists. A Lorne correspondent to the Geelong Advertiser in 1877 noted that 'even at far-away Lorne, the arrival of three thousand visitors was anticipated during the season of 1877'.

In this work of 'Loutit Bay', Elizabeth Parsons provides with a view across Loutit Bay and a view of the small, but growing township of Lorne The view is from a vantage point a little to the west of the southern end of Loutit Bay, looking towards the north. In the foreground, the stockmen on their horses are moving cattle along an old bush track that winds its way between the township of Lorne and the beach. Today, the Great Ocean Road follows much the same track, as it hugs the coastline, winding its way south west, towards Wye River. Wye River derived its name from the Welsh word 'wye' meaning 'water'.

Since the time that Elizabeth Parsons visited Lorne, many artists have been attracted to the beauty of this area. Among these artists were Ernest Buckmaster and Arthur Streeton who visited and painted Lorne in the 1920's.

Arthur Streeton was known to have produced at least five works of Lorne, and these include 'The Rocks', 'Blue Ocean, Lorne' and 'Lorne and the Bay'.

'Lorne and the Bay', was painted in 1921, and is a view of the township of Lorne, Loutit Bay and beyond towards Point Grey, from a high vantage point north of the town. This work was offered for auction through Christie's Australia. Australian and International Paintings, Melbourne 27 & 28 November 2000, Lot no.49.

Elizabeth Parsons also produced watercolours of other areas of the Victorian coast, and these included a work of 'Ricketts Point' and another of 'The Pier, Mornington', both painted in 1884.

A more detailed entry on the life and works of Elizabeth Parsons can be located under the 'Artists of the Heidelberg School' on this Internet site.

Further information on Lorne can be located on this site with the entry for the prints of the wood engravings of Lorne, under 'Sketches at Lorne, Victoria, 1890'.

Andrew Mackenzie

Left: Arthur Streeton - Above Us The Great Grave Sky, 1890
Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

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