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Brighton Beach

Date: 1880
Overall: 200 x 300 mm
Image: 150 x 225 mm
Medium: Printed newpaper illustration on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Newspaper illustration
Object No: 00051971
Related Place:Brighton,

User Terms

    These two illustrations show differing ideas about the beach and leisure in the late 19th to early twentieth centuries and about the development of Australian beaches as leisure sites. Bayside Brighton beach in Victoria, is represented in 1880 as a passive seaside site for picnics and the promenade. The 1906 photogravure of Manly, New South Wales, represents the active beach, reflecting the popularity of body surfing or shooting the breakers as it was then known, and of mixed bathing after the turn of the twentieth century. The illustrations were published in the UK weekly The Guardian and reveal that journal and its readership's interest in beachgoing in distant Australia, in the familiar almost photographic stillness of the wood engraving in the passive beach of 1880, and then in the mesmerising work after Sydney artist Percy Spence which shows body surfers and swimmers of both sexes rising from the waves like sea gods, goddesses, mermen or mermaids.
    HistoryPercy Frederick Seaton Spence 1868-1933 worked as an illustrator for the Daily Telegraph, Illustrated Sydney News and was an original member of the Brush Club of the Royal Art Society of NSW, with DH Souter. He shared a studio with W Lister Lister and gained a reputation for his portraits. Spence travelled and worked in London where he contributed to the illustrated press there, for the Graphic, its competitor the Illustrated London News and Punch. He was a member of the Chelsea Art Club and exhibited with the Royal Academy of Arts. (Source ADB) He was in sydney in 1905/6, where it is likely he drew this work, and again in 1909 and 1914.

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