Art for art’s sake

Photograph by Jill Lummis of stained glass window in St Paul's Anglican church, Cobbitty 2011

Sydney’s always been an arty place, from the carvings and dances of the traditional owners, and the sketchbooks and pianos of the early settlers, to the art societies and chamber music of the twentieth century and beyond.

The latest addition of material to the Dictionary continues our interest in these themes. Graeme Skinner has written a clutch of entries on musicians and groups of early twentieth century Sydney. Cyril Monk and his wife and colleague Varney Monk, father and daughter George and Iris de Cairos-Rego, and Ernest Truman would have met at concerts by the Austral String Quartet and Collegium Musicum, or performances of Collits Inn, Varney Monk’s prizewinning musical.

Silas Clifford Smith has given us another piece on early twentieth century artists, the XV Independent Group of Artists, who reacted against modernism during World War II, forming their own school based on ‘craftsmanship’.

Craftsmen of a different kind built the wonderful stained glass that Sydney is so rich in. Beverley Sherry‘s essay on this art form is lavishly illustrated and comprehensive, and will make you look at the windows around you in a different light. From the windows of Sydney University’s famous Great Hall, to the stained glass at Sydney Airport, this essay shows the depth of architectural design and technical expertise that has produced Sydney’s stained glass.

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About Emma Grahame

Emma Grahame has been Editorial Coordinator of the Dictionary of Sydney since May 2007.
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