A Love of Collecting

This website focuses upon the art collection of Thomas Murrell in his heritage house. The art provides a key context, framework, and historical grounding for an analysis of the house’s heritage and history.

The collection is eclectic, with no unifying theme or cohesive pattern and structure to the collecting – and it is all the more interesting as a result. The collection features notable Australian artists of the early to mid-twentieth century, such as Marie Tuck and Mary M. Wigg from South Australia, and Mavis Lightly from Western Australia, as well as contemporary Western Australian artists such as Murray Gill, Lene Makwane, Deborah Zibah, Jules Hancock and Andy Quilty.

There are also a small number of contemporary international artists that round out the collection. The overall picture, therefore, is one of esotericism but also one of national and local connection. The artists featured identified strongly with their home and the art on show in Murrell’s collection demonstrates this. Such intrinsic attachment to place reflects the great attachment that Murrell has to his house and to investigating the history of the great building.

Primarily consisting of paintings, the collection is an interesting snapshot of the state of South and Western Australian painting throughout the twentieth century. A body of ceramic work also supplements the collection.

Many of the artists within Murrell’s collection were operating in the twentieth century and bear the marks of clear influence of some the major movements within art history on their practice. The works demonstrate familiarity with French modernism and impressionism, particularly with regards to painting en plein air and painting scenes of daily life. Many Australian artists relocated to Europe, primarily Paris, for the purposes of studying in the capital of Modern Art – Marie Tuck, to name just one.

This website will provide a catalogue of the artists contained within the collection, including an introduction to the artists, biographical information, and contextual analysis of their oeuvre, outlining the theoretical underpinnings of their practice.

This will be followed by an analytical discussion of the individual pieces contained within the Murrell collection and their significance to the artist’s body of work.