George Alfred John Webb

George Alfred John Webb

Born: 1861

Died: 1949

A portrait and landscape painter, Webb studied painting in England and Europe before emigrating to Australia around 1890, but could have been as early as 1888. His older sister Frances “Fanny” Webb had married the painter Charles Rolando (1844-1893) around 1874, moving to Australia in 1885 and setting up a studio in Grey Street, East Melbourne.

Webb lived and worked first in Melbourne, painting landscapes around Fernshaw and Gippsland Lakes which Rolando also favoured, then 1890 he moved to Tasmania. He returned to Melbourne in 1891, where he married Christina Lake in 1892 and spent their honeymoon in Europe.

In 1897 they moved to  Adelaide where he opened a studio in Broken Hill Chambers, then in Brookman Building, where he also conducted painting and drawing classes. He moved to Steamship Building, Currie Street sometime before 1914. He joined the South Australian Society of the Arts soon after his arrival, and proved to be an active member, participating in most exhibitions and was for some years its vice president.

In 1910 he held a one-man exhibition. Only one portrait was shown, (Chief Justice Samuel Way), with dozens of seascapes and landscapes in both watercolour and oils: scenes in the Victorian mallee and fern gullies, the Adelaide hills, on the River Torrens, the Buffalo Ranges (Victoria), the valley just below the viaduct near Blackwood, on the Belair Road, at Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, on the gulf coast, Backstairs Passage,near Strathalbyn, from the summit of Mount Lofty, and the Botanic Park. “Sunset on Lake Alexandrina” and “A Bushfire in the Grampians” created considerable interest.

Webb painted many portraits of the prominent business, social and political identities in Adelaide and Melbourne.