Australian landscape and figure painter. Born in Bognor Regis, Sussex. Childhood alternately in England and Australia, where his ancestors had been pioneers in the pastoral and sugar industries; his family returned to Australia permanently 1923. Gave up a pastoral career in order to paint and studied at George Bell's school in Melbourne 1935-8, then 1938-9 in Europe at the Grosvenor School in London and under Othon Friesz at the Grande Chaumière in Paris. Influenced by Braque and Matisse. On return, worked in George Bell's private studio for a year, then moved in 1940 to Sydney and began the following year to paint the people and landscape of the Australian outback. First one-man exhibition at the Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 1942. Sent by the Sydney Morning Herald in 1944 to report on the effects of drought in Western New South Wales; drew and painted the desert-like desolation. From 1951 also became interested in painting the aborigines, whose life he came to know on various journeys in the Northern and Western-Central Desert areas. Knighted 1969. Lives in Kilcare Heights, New South Wales.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.179