In February 1922, Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, was married in the first ‘public’ royal wedding. Her husband was Viscount Lascelles, later Earl of Harewood. A wedding gift from the people of NSW was a huge landscape by Arthur Streeton. The painting was of Sydney Harbour from the top of ‘Wyoming’, on Macquarie Street. This impressive work hung in Harewood House, the home of the Princess, until after the death of her son George. It indicates the status of Streeton at the time, that he was commissioned to provide such a painting.
Streeton, a major retrospective curated by Wayne Tunnicliffe, can be seen at the Art Gallery of NSW (until 14 Feb). Arthur Streeton (1867-1943) was born in Duneed, Victoria. The family moved to Melbourne in 1874; on leaving school his skill in sketching led to an apprenticeship with a lithographer. He had no formal training in painting being self taught from manuals. A fortunate meeting with Tom Roberts led to him joining a painting group which included Frederick McCubbin. By 1888 he was selling enough to paint full time. A move to Sydney saw him captivated by the harbour and Coogee beach and his creation of some urban masterpieces.
In 1897 he made the first of several trips to England. In 1908 in London, he married Esther Clench, a Canadian violinist. International recognition followed; his status confirmed with a knighthood in 1937.
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