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Colourful painting of a band playing in the street

The Town Band 1951

By Herbert Badham

The Town Band depicts a performance by the Eastern Command Band;outside Victoria Barracks, Paddington, in inner-city Sydney. The artist taught at the nearby East Sydney Technical College for over 20 years, so he knew the area well, and perhaps also the band. Badham records the scene with careful detail — people in the audience variously chat or watch as the band performs, the afternoon light casting long shadows over the relaxed and intimate scene.

Celebrating the ordinary, Badham affectionately portrays an array of characters who have stopped to listen — passers-by on bikes, families, lovers and workers. Revealing a subtle sense of humour, the artist groups the musicians around a stop sign painted on the street. Known for his depictions of urban views and scenes of everyday life, Badham was one of many artists working in Sydney who drew inspiration from the city and its inhabitants rather than the Australian bush.

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Collection Item Type:
Oil on canvas on board
Call Number:
ML 1557
Published date:
1951