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Artwork - Portrait of Thomas Marks

From the Collection of Vision Australia 454 Glenferrie Road Kooyong Victoria

1 art original in gold frame
90 x 75 x 7cm
Object Registration
b/c 1010190, KOO 387
association for the advancement of the blind, thomas marks
Historical information
Framed portrait of Thomas Marks who was President of the Association for the Advancement of the Blind 1900, 1935-1937. It is part of a series of paintings commissioned by the VAF Board to commemorate the work of past presidents of the organisation. Mr Marks sits at a table, wearing black tails and pants, a white pleated dinner shirt and black evening dress bow-tie. One hand rests next to a cup and saucer, the other rests on his lap.
Tom Marks was educated at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind.

He was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of the Blind (now Vision Australia) at its establishment in 1895. He went on to serve as President of organisation in 1900 and was later appointed as a part time paid secretary – an office he occupied from 1904 to 1927. He again served as President from 1935 to 1937 during which time he celebrated his 80th birthday.
As the living conditions of many blind people were deplorable at this time – they were often confined to a room or shed without any social contacts – it was realized that support for blind persons was needed to serve as a refuge for the oppressed, a home for the indigent, a rest home for the sick and a convalescent home to provide both respite care and permanent accommodation.

Mr Marks had a reputiation of having good contacts and being able to use people with more knowledge than himself.

An able musician, Tom Marks was often employed in the homes of wealthy families. As a result he met Mr and Mrs Grimwade who were already supporters of Vision Australia. They organized a gymkhana to raise money for the nucleus of a building fund. From this time Tom Marks was involved in the finances of the centres at Brighton, Ballarat and Bendigo, which were the ultimate result of the fund. He was also part of a team that negotiated the financial agreement between the RVIB and Vision Australia over fund raising and the allocation of money, which lasted from 1930 to 1939.
When Made
Made By
John Duncan-Firth (Maker)
Inscriptions & Markings
The plaque at the base of the painting reads 'Mr Thomas Marks / President 1900, 1935-1937/ Association for Advancement of the Blind'.
Last updated
7 May 2020 at 8:58PM