Collection Online

Arthur Streeton letter to Tom Roberts

pen and ink and pencil
(a-b) 18.1 × 22.5 cm (image and sheet)
Place/s of Execution
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria
(a) inscribed in ink and pencil r.h.s.: 13 May / 13 Erin St / Richmond / Dear B.d.f. / Well Bulldog how are you popping. Pull up your socks & lets have a yarn. Its so pleasant painting in your studio, - particularly so yesterday (...illeg.) / (illustration at base of folded paper of two women in an artist's studio, one bending down and the other with a long closed umbrella in one hand and with the other pointing to a work positioned on an easel. On her dress, 'Florry' is inscribed. In the doorway, a young cherubic angel figure stands with bow and arrow.)
inscribed in ink and pencil l.h.s.: 2. / Yes. / The Fitzroy gardens are splendid in color. Really bulldog. / The influence of the glorious orb on the English leaves - / "The universal sun from day to day, / Does his creator's power display, / And publishes to Every land / The work of an almighty hand. / Soon as the evening shades prevail, / The moon takes up the wondrous tale / And nightly to the listening earth, / Repeats the story of her birth: / While all the stars that round her burn, / And all the planets in their turn / Confirm the tidings as they roll, / And spread the truth from pole to pole / What: Though in solemn silence all / Move around the dark terrestrial ball.
(At the top of the page are illustrations of planets in orbit, and at the base what looks like a section of earth with a sun or moons in orbit around it.)
inscribed in ink and pencil on reverse l.h.s.: 3 / I fancy I have several little details of interest for you. ___ / My descriptionsmust seem roundabout sometimes- / Last Saturday worked in your studio until dark. Then lit the gas and started to peg away at your organ- / (Thinking that Miss Sutherland and all were gone) .. Am trying to learn first page of "Largo" worked with considerable vigour until about 6.30 or 7pm, turned off gas locked up and - found Miss Sutherland at her door. Lot of people apparently inside, listening to organ and awaiting the grand finale to then ask me to tea. I was much surprised, thanked em for invitation and went home to tea 7.30 about) 8pm. Smoke night. (Smoke night underlined). The best smoke night (smoke night underlined) we've had / . Neebe (actor) in Chair) / D. Christis Murray (author) Proff Kernot / Gee (Singer) Dr Ottara (songs) / Stockwell DOyle ...+ / Hamilton Clarke Others / Langdale Smazellen? / Liebe Snozelle / Max Klein
inscribed in ink and pencil on reverse r.h.s.: 4/ Murray gave a recitation bout 2 minutes, which roused the whole room & every man shook with applause - "The Federal Convention" very very_fine___ / Struck every one ___ / I caught the last train to HBerg, wet night & dark ____could not get withers away (married man) / H'Berg Station met Mrs Black going home with young damsel also C. Davies Esq -escorted Mrs Bliome then up hill. Pile all the blankets over me & the room cosy & fragrant with eucalyptus & ruby twist. Do get up breakfast 10.30-paint 2 impressions (for (Art Union) & then have another meal at 4-5pm dark & cool.___I consult the compass-needle points to "Carn" - I walk over very slowly, open the several gates, seat myself to the fire and get warm. (Base of page, an illustration of two figures seated in armchairs in front of an open fire.)
(b) inscribed in ink and pencil r.h.s.: 5 / Have quite a nice long inter-esting chat...sorry to say that Mrs Davies little one has serious cold & had (then) not slept for 3 nights. Mrs D also....I do hope for a quuick recovery of the poor little child, such a dear little thing.-I not away-home with a whisky (am getting cold myself) it is only about 9pm-& I don't want to go home yet-so I call in & see Edmund SMith. red house with tiles next Mrs Bleech. he has one splendid room there & on or 2 charming lovely little water colours by Mather. 2 whiskies & then home. / into Tom next morning 8.40 train. / With all the genius of H'Berg & Mike the guard to take care of us all. / -Yesterday 2 girls came up to the studio in afternoon and 1 of course was particulalry interesting. Really Bulldog looked so fine - I was so cheerfil for the rest of the day. (Mother was up) & then the dear old Prof. he is a gem really & I read my Wordsworth to him___
inscribed in ink and pencil l.h.s.: 6 / Well this little matter seems to develop & I really, I've done nothing suddenly as per the advice of my esteemed friend the bed bulldog. (positioned illustration in black ink, of a man wearing a suit with a bowler hat and bound with string that is held by a small cherubic like angel figure who pulls on the string. On the other side of the standing bound male figure, the string is attached to a tree with animals gatheres beneath it.) / The Sunday before last I went in evening to Vict College & saw everyone but Dora who was away. Anna took my hand & led me into room where poor Levey was lying down unwell. I was so sorry to see her like this. They were describing your letter to me it afforded them great entertainment.
inscribed in ink and pencil on reverse l.h.s.: 7 / All this letter seems all about myself. / But you see - / "There's a tide in the affairs of men sometimes"____ / Sands was up today. The wreck he went to see quite inspired him. (I must read it.) Miss Osmond has been up & Madame Reverdy Age cutie, / W Jas Smith not yet to hand.- / I have still 5 more prizes to paint to mark the 30 I'm giving - / I think I will go all right. It must, that's all. It means my next work in a measure ____ / I would like to do. The Australian Unitape "up at Stawell in St Western, grapes of Purple & gold, "glory." / Re art union. I must fix a date for drawing. It will mean a deal in getting off tickets. Tuesday 30 "June will do I think. It leaves me 5 weeks (when all is ready) to get tickets off.
inscribed in ink and pencil on reverse r.h.s.: Bdg ? You must get down in time for "Bernhardt" & come with me. (Illustration in ink near top of paper of a face with a large ring to its right.) / I'll let you know when she opens- / "When the flowing tide comes in" / Good night / Smithe (Illustration in black ink below text and at base of paper of a male bearded face, a horseshoe, a planet in orbit and a female figure in profile with a hat and veil.)
inscribed in ink on cream coloured paper envelope: Tome Roberts / Chenhalls Hotel / Corowa / NSW
inscribed in ink on envelope u.r.c.:
Postal stamp in ink u.l.c.: Melbourne / May 14 / 91
(illustration in ink of a smoking cigarette at the lower left corner.)
(Please note: the envelope is attached to the back of the Tom Roberts publication, 'Tom Roberts, father of Australian landscape painting' by R.H. CROLL, 2004. 31)
Accession Number
Australian Prints & Drawings
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased from public donations, 2004
Gallery location
Not on display