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Domesticity1959

by Herbert Badham

Herbert Badham (1899–1961) was an Australian realist painter. He studied under Julian Ashton and George Washington Lambert at Ashton’s Sydney Art School. Rejecting the focus on Australian bush and landscape, he embraced the modern city, depicting everyday scenes of ordinary life.

The painting Domesticity is typical of Badham’s focus on commonplace subjects recorded with careful detail. As with many of his paintings, the woman is a depiction of his wife, Enid. Although no longer a child in 1959, the girl represents Badham’s daughter, Chebi, suggesting the painting might be a nostalgic work from memory. A neighbour can be seen washing up through two open windows.

Rejecting the popular interest in the Australian bush and landscapes, he embraced the modern city. With its intimate viewpoint, Badham has encapsulated something almost universal, about middle class domestic life.