Important Australian and International Fine Art
28 November 2018


(1858 – 1933)

oil on canvas

35.5 x 51.0 cm

signed lower left: Lilla Reidy.
bears inscription on stretcher bar verso: Old home (at Bay Street - Brighton) of Mr Ward Cole, afterwards purchased / by the late Thomas Bent.

$8,000 – 12,000
Sold for $9,760 (inc. BP) in Auction 56 - 28 November 2018, Melbourne

Camberwell Auctions, Melbourne, 25 January 1973
Private collection, Melbourne


Art and Nature: Artists’ Flowers, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria, 4 March – 30 April 1989
Backyards and Boundaries 1840-1930, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria, 27 September – 8 November 1998, cat. 56 (illus. in exhibition catalogue)


Topliss, H., The Artists’ Camps: ‘Plein Air’ Painting in Australia, Hedley Australia Publications, Melbourne, 1992, pl. 8, pp. 11 (illus.), 185

Catalogue text

Lilla Reidy was one of E. Phillips Fox and Tudor St George Tucker's early pupils after Fox and Tucker had established their private art school known as the Melbourne School of Art in the late summer of 1893. Reidy later became Fox's assistant. She exhibited at the Victorian Artists' Society from 1895 until 1910 and was based at “Bertrame” Punt Road, Prahran and had a studio at the Cromwell Buildings in Bourke Street where Fox and Tucker had their school.

As Ruth Zubans notes in her major publication on Fox ‘... in 1894 Tucker and Fox established at Charterisville the first summer school of painting in Australia, a major innovation in Melbourne's teaching practice and offered a sharp contrast to the curriculum offered by the Gallery School. At first, students painted there at weekends, making the stone farmhouse “and the lovely old garden” their base, but from 1897 a camp was held every autumn and they “spent two of the pleasantest months of the year in outdoor painting”’.1

Other art students at this time included Marion Barrett, Violet Teague, May Vale, Ina Gregory, Christina Asquith Baker, Bertha E. Merfield, Mary Meyer, Edward C. Officer, Ambrose Patterson and Albert Enes.

Reidy painted society portraits, still life, interiors and landscapes based in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart. Phillips Fox painted a souvenir portrait of Lilla Reidy (c.1895) which is featured on the slipcase of Helen Topliss's The Artists’ Camps ‘Plein Air’ Painting in Australia.

St Ninian’s (10 Miller Street) was one of Brighton's earliest buildings, built around 1841 and best known as the home of George Ward Cole (1793 – 1879), merchant shipping agent and owner of Cole's Wharf. Situated on the seafront on the right-hand side of Bay Street, St Ninian’s was known for its Singapore Teak wing. During Cole's time, it was a fashionable rendezvous for many important identities who shaped Melbourne's history including Victoria's first royal visitor, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who was a guest here in 1867. The property was demolished in 1974.

1. Zubans, R., E. Phillips Fox: His Life and Art, The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1995, p. 85