Vernon Lorimer

Born: c1889

Died: 1978

Cartoonist, illustrator and commercial artist, trained as an artist in Melbourne.

TheNGA holds his poster for the Melbourne ‘Art Students Annual Bal Masque’ of July 1911, a hand-coloured line block of a student with palette and brush (ill. Butler p.11). He contributed to Lone Hand , e.g. ‘After the show was over’ 1 August 1912, 322-23, and drew at least one cartoon for The Comic Australian , ‘The Comic Australian Surfing Academy’ 20 January 1912. While serving in WWI he contributed to a servicemen’s anthology.

Most of Lorimer’s illustrative work, however, was done for the NSW Bookstall Company. He began illustrating their books in 1908; a second followed in 1913 and 11 known illustrated books appeared after the war, in 1919-25, with his busiest period being 1922-23 (ill. Mills, 36). The Triad (10 August 1923, p.40, quoted Mills p.34), reviewing some of the Bookstall’s publications, praised Percy Lindsay ‘s artwork but had reservations about Lorimer’s illustrations to a racing story, The Jumping Double , by Charles E. Sayers:

“The artist is a Mr. Vernon Lorimer, and we can’t like him as we like Percy. Mr. Lorimer’s illustrations have a newly-laundered and badly-pressed look, and the head of the horse facing page 151 would put a Chinese dragon to the blush [ill. Mills p.36].

“Mr. Lorimer’s peculiarities are intensified in his drawings for another new book, Mr. A. R. Falk’s negligible shocker. This time he experiments with sawn-off figures…”

Mills notes that Lorimer is caricatured from his own pen in the 1922 Rowlandson memorial volume (the NSW Bookstall’s publisher) as something of a hack and suggests he was forced to make a living as a commercial artist against his inclinations. For Art and Australia 1924-29 he did advertisements for the Commonwealth Bank. A linocut, ‘The Surf Beach’ c.1923, edn 30, is listed in Lebovic & Warner’s Fifty Years (cat. 62, not ill.).

Kerr, Joan 1996.