Image of a Tom Roberts painting on front of soft covered book titled The Artists' Camp at Box Hill - Eleanor Finlay, Marjorie Morgan
Inscriptions & markings
FOREWORD by William Dargie Kt., C.B.E., FRSA (London) FRAS (NSW)
As one born between two worlds I find it difficult to identify wholly with either Australian art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries or the infinitely varied styles of today. At the beginning of the 1930s, when I first began to take any sort of interest in art, I had the natural feeling of youth that anything that had happened thirty to forty years ago was already far down the dark and backward abysm of time. As for today, all that one of my generation can do is to enjoy what is enjoyable and avert one's eyes and close one's ears against the rest. This is the time of life one realizes that distaste, as well as taste can be cultivated.
Well, youth repeats itself in each generation and among the young there will always be .some determined and dedicated to the making of new images of the physical world. All artists throughout history have shared this common experience. All have remembered the suddenly-formed friendships, the sketching expeditions and camps, the first exhibitions, the formation of groups, the 'manifestos' - these last to return in later life all too often as embarrassments - but above all, the enthusiasm. 'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive but to be young was very heaven'.
Thus we can be time-travellers back one hundred and six years to that first plein-air camp set up by Roberts, McCubbin and Abrahams on part of David Houston's property at Box Hill. This was indeed the prelude to all that followed: Mentone and the meeting with the young Streeton painting on the rocks, and Heidelberg later.