Important Australian + International Fine Art
31 August 2011


(1865 - 1915)

oil on canvas

38.0 x 46.0 cm

signed lower left: E. Phillips Fox

$90,000 - 120,000
Sold for $120,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 21 - 31 August 2011, Melbourne

Private collection
Sotheby's Australia, Melbourne, 22 August 1994, lot 71
Savill Galleries, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collecton, Sydney
Company collecton, Sydney


Catalogue of Pictures by E Phillips Fox, The Royal Art Society, Sydney, 13–28 October 1913, cat. 60 (as Rocks at Manly)
Pictures by the Late E Phillips Fox, Upper Athenaeum Hall, Melbourne, February 1916, cat. 50 (as From Fairy Bower, Manly)
Stories of Australian Art, Commonwealth Institute, London, 31 March – 29 May 1988, The Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln, 25 June – 31 July 1988, cat. 60 (label attached verso)


Zubans, R., E. Phillips Fox, His Life and Art, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 1995, p. 165, cat. 447, pl. C73 (illus.)

Catalogue text

Emanuel Phillips Fox returned to Australia with his wife Ethel Carrick in May 1913, holding highly successful exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney, and undertaking a number of prestigious portrait commissions. The latter included that of the prime minister the Rt Hon Andrew Fisher for the Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House, and the full-length presentation portrait of Henry Giles Turner, President of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria. Fox's Melbourne exhibition opened at the Athenaeum Hall in June followed in July by Carrick's at the Guildhall. The crowning success of Fox's Sydney show at the Royal Art Society in October was the purchase of his subject painting, Motherhood 1908 by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Fairy Bower, Manly c1913 was included in the Sydney exhibition, under the different though apt title of Rocks at Manly. For the memorial exhibition of 1916, the title was changed to From Fairy Bower, Manly. Sparkling with sunny light and all the effervescence of spring, it must have been painted shortly after Fox arrived in Sydney on 17 September. During the short time between arrival and the exhibition opening on 13 October, Fox painted a number of views of Sydney Harbour - of Manly, Cremorne, Narrabeen - ten of them being in his solo show. Fairy Bower at Manly appealed so much that he painted three different versions. One, showing the promenade and figures on the beach, was seen in the recent Queensland Art Gallery exhibition and illustrated in the accompanying catalogue.1 There is also the splendid Green Wave, Manly c1914 in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, with its sea of captivating greens and blues. In response to their popularity with local collectors, Fox continued painting Sydney scenes after the conclusion of his exhibition. Ruth Zubans, in her definitive book on Fox, wrote, 'He had always found scenes of the sea and water seductive, and Manly, with its sun and glorious setting, became one of his favourite sites.'2 In November Fox wrote to his Melbourne dealer William Henry Gill, 'I hope to get a few good seascapes - the colour is very fine at Manly.'3 Fox and Carrick stayed in Sydney until December. Not to be outdone, Carrick had included some twenty-one Sydney views in her November exhibition at Anthony Hordern's gallery. Her painting, Manly Beach - Summer is Here 1913, is appropriately in the collection of the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. When interviewed on his return to Australia in May of 1913, Fox was reported as saying, 'In art everything must start from the springboard of nature.'4 Through its captivating colour and atmosphere, nature's inspiration for Fox is beautifully realised in Fairy Bower, Manly c1913.

1. Goddard, A., Art, Love and Life: Ethel Carrick and E. Phillips Fox, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2011, p. 137
2. Zubans, op. cit., p. 165
3. Quoted in ibid.
4. Argus, Melbourne, 21 May 1913, p. 5, quoted in Zubans, op. cit., p. 164