Lionel Lindsay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Lionel Arthur Lindsay
Lionel Lindsay around 1900s
Lionel Arthur Lindsay

(1874-10-17)17 October 1874
Died22 May 1961(1961-05-22) (aged 86)
Melbourne, Australia
SpouseJean Dyson
RelativesPercy (brother)
Norman (brother)
Daryl (brother)
Ruby (sister)
Etching of Thomas Williams, missionary to Fiji' (1831)

Sir Lionel Arthur Lindsay (17 October 1874 – 22 May 1961) was an Australian artist, known for his paintings and etchings.

Early life[edit]

Lindsay was born in the Victorian town of Creswick, into a creative family – he was the brother of artist Norman Lindsay and artist and critic Daryl Lindsay and of the relatively unknown artists Ruby Lindsay and Percy Lindsay. Lionel became a pupil-assistant at the Melbourne Observatory (1889–1892) and later studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne and in George Coates' rooms.

Lindsay taught himself etching and engraving in the 1890s while a student, immediately prior to his first trip to Spain and England. On his return to Australia he settled in Sydney as a freelance artist and journalist, contributing to The Bulletin and other magazines and newspapers.

He married Jean, a sister of the literary Dyson boys (Ted, Will, and Ambrose), while Will married Lionel's sister Ruby.[1][2]


Pastoral. Lionel Lindsay after Sydney Long (1918)

Lindsay was good friends with Ernest Moffitt and published a book on his art, A Consideration of the Art of Ernest Moffitt (1899). In 1907 he held an extremely successful exhibition of etchings in Sydney with the Society of Artists. The two decades after 1907 saw him active with the Society of Artists and in 1921, when the Australian Painter-Etchers' Society was formed, Lindsay was its first president. He began to exhibit in London in 1923 and had his most successful exhibition of that period at Colnaghi, a London art dealer, in 1927. Colnaghi's Galleries and the critic Harold Wright led British interest in Lindsay's work and guaranteed his reputation as a major British printmaker and watercolourist.

Key themes in his oeuvre include the swagman in the outback,[3] old Sydney,[4] portraits of prominent Australians,[5] romantic views of Spain[6] and Arab culture, a series of classically inspired works and birds and animals.[7]

In 1937 Lindsay became a foundation member of, and exhibited with, Robert Menzies' anti-modernist organisation, the Australian Academy of Art.[8]Lindsay became a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and was knighted for his services to Australian art in 1941.[9] In 1942 Lindsay published Addled Art, a vituperative and anti-semitic attack on modernism in art. Lindsay's views on modernism, however, were not as clear cut as Addled Art would have it seem: for example, Lindsay supported William Dobell during the court case over his Archibald Prize-winning portrait of Joshua Smith.


Lindsay died in Melbourne on 22 May 1961. His autobiography, Comedy of Life, was published posthumously.


The Lionel Lindsay Art Gallery and Library, in Toowoomba, Queensland, holds rare books, manuscripts and maps, and over 400 art works by members of the Lindsay family and other significant Australian painters, including Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Rupert Bunny. The library and gallery was established by local transport owner and philanthropist Bill Bolton MBE (1905–1973).



  1. ^ "Will DYSON dead". Recorder. South Australia. 24 January 1938. p. 1. Retrieved 28 February 2020 – via Trove.
  2. ^ "Lionel LINDSAY". Cairns Post. Queensland, Australia. 12 April 1935. p. 16. Retrieved 28 February 2020 – via Trove.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 November 2005. Retrieved 28 October 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2005. Retrieved 28 October 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Woodcut of Henry Lawson by Lionel Lindsay". 21 July 2005. Archived from the original on 21 July 2005.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2005. Retrieved 28 October 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Sir Lionel Lindsay - Repose Pheasant and Wisteria".
  8. ^ Australian Academy of Art First Exhibition, April 8th-29th, Sydney : Catalogue (1st ed.). Sydney: Australian Academy of Art. 1938. Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  9. ^ 'New Year Honours' Sydney Morning Herald 1 January 1941, p. 5.

External links[edit]

Media related to Lionel Lindsay at Wikimedia Commons