Artist Spotlight: Gladys Laycock (1882-1959)

Why is a women’s art foundation acquiring a portrait of a Scotsman in a kilt?
Because it was painted by little known Sydney artist Gladys Laycock. From 1908, Gladys made her living painting miniature portraits on commission from her studio in the Strand Arcade. Whilst most art forms during this era were dominated by male artists, the majority of Australian miniature painters were women. The national art galleries of New South Wales and Victoria invested heavily in these women, purchasing many of their works.
Gladys Laycock, A Gentleman (Colin Young Caird) 1926.

The subject of this portrait is Colin Young Caird, a wealthy Scottish-Australian businessman, collector and patron of the arts. Upon his death in 1928 he left his Double Bay mansion Innelian, its contents and 4,000 pounds to the then-President of the Sydney Society of Women Painters Mrs Marie Irvine. He also supported the Society during his life, often hosting fund-raising parties for women artists at his home.

Gladys Laycock pictured at the Sydney Literary Ball in 1907.

If you would like to learn more about Gladys Laycock and other now little-known Australian women artists, see Sheila’s Into the Light Acquisition Fund Catalogue for 2021.

Read more

What’s it like for a young woman artist trying to make her way in the artworld of today? Bella Chidlow is a recent art school graduate interning with the SHEILA Foundation. Here

“The Australian slang term ‘sheila’, a derogatory term for a woman, is a relic of another, more sexist time. But, like other contested words, it has been reclaimed and reappr