The White Cottage North Sydney by James Ranalph Jackson: signature and frame detail
James Ranalph Jackson born New Zealand 3 July 1882 died Sydney 9 September 1975.
The White Cottage North Sydney
Oil on canvas laid down on board. Signed lower right. Image 59 cm wide x 49.5 cm high; over the ornate gilt frame 80 cm wide x 73 cm high. Inscribed in pencil to the reverse “for jubilee show” thus dating this work to the late 1940s or early 1950s when Australia celebrated 50 years since Federation in 1901. Further inscribed in pencil to the reverse “the white cottage north Sydney, 80 gns” (guineas each of which was 21 shillings) and “James R Jackson” appearing identical to the signature front L/R. Various auction & other labels also.
James Ranalph Jackson’s father George Albert Jackson, an English surveyor and a descendant of a renowned English family of silversmiths and watchmakers, migrated with his wife to New Zealand in 1874.
When the depression of the early 1890s made life in New Zealand too difficult George took his family to live in Sydney.
James displayed his artistic talent from an early age, drawing whenever and wherever he could and from 1896 a local minister, the Reverend Hiddleston, encouraged him.
When Jackson left school he was apprenticed to interior decorators where his love and talent for drawing was recognised and he was encouraged to approach Frank Mahoney, a teacher at the Royal Art Society (RAS).
Jackson soon started attending night classes at the RAS and from 1902 he also attended the J. S. Watkins Art School.
In 1905 he won the RAS scholarship and first prize in drawing and painting from life which financed his to travel to London in 1906.
He was accepted as a pupil by Frank Brangwyn whose teaching would provide Jackson with a sound understanding of paint, preparation, colour, tone and composition.
He then moved on to Paris and studied at the Academy Colarossi.
From there he travelled through France, Italy and Spain, completing his first European paintings.
On his return to Sydney in 1908, Jackson joined the Royal Art Society which gave him the first opportunity to exhibit his work.
It was about this time he met (Dame) Nellie Melba who became his first patron.
Jackson exhibited with the RAS for many years and, with positive press reviews, he was able to enjoy commercial success throughout the 1910s, 1920s and into the 1930s.
From 1917 to 1926 he taught drawing and painting at the RAS.
Jackson also established himself in Melbourne where in 1916 he joined the Australian Art Association, exhibiting and gaining a loyal following.
In 1913 an artists' camp at Narrabeen initiated Jackson's lifelong attraction to Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Jackson went on regular and frequent painting trips to country New South Wales and Victoria and continued to do so until he was well into his seventies.
He married in 1924 and he and his wife, the artist Dora Toovey, spent the 2 years from 1926 painting in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the UK.
Jackson was a foundation member of the Australian Academy of Art in 1937 and exhibited with them through most of the next decade.
In 1942, he enlisted in the Camouflage Section of the Defence Department and was stationed at Richmond Air Base, where his knowledge of colour was used for the camouflage of planes and guns.
He was discharged however when it was discovered that he was over sixty years old.
Jackson continued painting and exhibiting works in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane until the early 1970s.
His works are represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and many other state and regional galleries of Australia.