Press Centre

Media Release
27 February 2002

Sir William Dargie Brushstrokes of Influence

As Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 arrives in Australia, Sir William Dargie, the artist who painted her official portrait at Buckingham Palace in 1954 today will be honoured with the release of his eight Archibald Prize winning paintings and his life story on the Internet.

The portrait of the Queen hangs in Parliament House, Canberra. Prints of the painting have been distributed to schools, council chambers, politicians offices and government buildings.

The Sir William Dargie Collection will be released this morning by the Federal Minister for the Arts, Senator Rod Kemp at a special ceremony at the Melbourne Museum. The launch will be attended by Sir William, his family and friends.

Ms Shirley Baynes-Smith, Managing Editor of In the Artist's Footsteps said, "The release of the Sir William Dargie Collection on the website In the Artist's Footsteps will enable the life story and work of Sir William to be made available to educational institutions and the arts community."

Ms Baynes-Smith said, "The exhibition, curated by Art Historian Andrew Mackenzie, covered the remarkable life of Sir William Dargie from his early childhood in Footscray, his first postings as a teacher at North Williamstown State School and his triumphs as one of Australia's most successful portrait painters."

"In 1942 at twenty-nine, during the Second World War when digging a trench in Tobruk, William Dargie was informed that he had won the Archibald Prize for 1941, with his portrait of Sir James Elder K.B.E.

"Sir William Dargie's range of portraits reads like the Who's Who of Australia including such names as Essington Lewis C.H., Gough Whitlam, Hon. Sir Henry Bolte, Dame Patty Menzies, H.M. Queen Elizabeth 11, H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, Albert Namatjira, Sir Edmund Herring, Sir Marcus Clark K.B.E., Dame Enid Lyons, Sir Leslie McConnan and up to 1963 he had painted around 200 portraits.

The Sir William Dargie Collection will join the other exhibitions on In the Artist's Footsteps of Australia's most famous artists including Tom Roberts, Sir Arthur Streeton, Walter Withers, Charles Conder, May Vale, Albert Namatjira, Frederick McCubbin and others.

The website has the support of the Federal Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Telstra Country Wide and the Victorian Government Office of Women's Policy, ATSIC, Victorian Coastal Council, Aspect Computing and BP. The website has been placed on the National Archives in Canberra to ensure its ongoing access to educational institutions.

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith (03) 9818 5700 Mobile 0417 329 201

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

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