Born in Australia, his father was an officer in the Australian Navy and, being an artist himself, encouraged his son to draw from an early age. He attended schools in New South Wales and Tasmania, and trained for three years in an architect's office, spending all his leisure hours sketching ships in Sydney harbour.
Just after his 21st birthday he emigrated to England. In November 1901 he signed into St Ives Arts Club as a guest of Julius OLSSON, and later became his pupil. The registers show he visited again in January 1912 and November 1914. Tovey includes a coloured plate of his painting, Drifting Home, St Ives, in his social history of the St Ives artists (p243) and another, Rowing Boats in a rocky cove (p244). During the War he became Official Naval Artist for the Australian Government.
In WWII he was commissioned by various shipowners to paint their merchant ships and convoys in ports all over the country. Having made rough sketches, he returned to his studio in Ludlow to complete the finished pictures (his studio in London having been bombed in the Blitz). His wife, Muriel BURGESS (nee Coldwell), was a pupil at the Forbes School whilst copying her father's portrait in 1936-37.
His grandson has added to our information with a recent paragraph, and this is included in the Miscellaneous section following.
Marine painter and draughtsman
works and access
Other works include: The Stillness of the Fjord (1934); The Pilots of Port Jackson (1936); The Restless Deep
Illustrations in Illustrated London News; The Graphic and other leading periodicals; Marine illustrations inlcude Brassey's Naval and Shipping Annual 1922-1930 (art editor and principal artist); and he features in The Artist, A series of articles including Artists of Note 1942
Access to work: Imperial War Museum; QMDH; Birkenhead; SMA; Lincoln; Derby; Sydney and various Australian Galleries with works depicting the first Australian fleet (WWI)
Locally: High Water on the Bar, oil on canvas (on loan to) National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth
STISA 1932, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1947 (SA), 1947 (W) and 1949 Touring Shows
RI; ROI; RBC
misc further info
Arthur Burgess was my grandfather. His father James Ogle Burgess served as a
Midshipman, and later as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He left the Navy to
settle in Tasmania and marry Miss Dinah Evans of Newtown. He became a
district surveyor for the colony of New South Wales and Arthur was born in
Bombala, New South Wales in 1879 and brought up in Grafton and Lismore NSW.
He was apprenticed to an architect (Spence) in Sydney, studying art in the
evenings with William Lister Lister. On completion of his apprenticeship in
Sydney, he came to England to become a full time marine artist, studying with
Julius OLSSON and Algernon TALMAGE in St.Ives.
The Artist: A series of articles including Artists of Note (1942)
Green (2002) Posing the Model
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p317)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Tovey (2000) GF Bradshaw & STISA (Appendix 3: Principal Members of STISA 1927-1960)
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash
Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History
Whitechapel Exhibtion catalogue (repr in Hardie 2009)