Percy the Painter of Creswick

Percy, born September 1870, was the first child of the Lindsay family. He showed an early interest in art at school and was later encouraged by the local bank manage, S.A. Edmonds, with whom he occasionally went sketching. He also attended weekly painting classes in Ballarat with Frederic S. Sheldon. In January 1893 when S.A. Edmonds invited noted painters Walter Withers and J. Miller Marshall to Creswick to conduct outdoor painting classes, Percy joined Withers who taught painting in oils, while Percy’s brother Lionel, joined Miller Marshall who taught watercolours.

Percy developed into a keen painter and in January 1895 he had a successful exhibition of oils in his studio in Albert Street, Creswick. He started his own school at the old Creswick School of Mines and then moved to Melbourne, earning a living from doing illustrations and exhibiting his paintings with the Victorian Artists Society.

In 1907 he married his Creswick girlfriend Jessie Hammon and in 1908 they had a son, Peter. In 1917, at the suggestion of his brother Lionel, Percy moved to Sydney and continued as a black-and-white artist for the Bulletin and other periodicals. He also did numerous book illustrations. These included wonderful watercolours used to illustrate works by Steele Rudd, Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson.

Throughout his life Percy continued to paint landscapes and today is greatly admired for his early pictures of Creswick and Sydney. He has left a large collection of oil paintings, some of which can be seen in the Creswick Museum and the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

According to his brother Norman in his autobiography My Mask, Percy had a robust constitution and a carefree attitude to life and he never did anything or went anywhere if he did not want to. He was successful but unambitious, a modest man whose enduring passion was landscape painting. His brother Daryl wrote in his book The Leafy Tree, that Percy was “in oils, the best painter and colourist of us all.” He was much loved by everyone for his friendly and convivial personality. He died in Sydney September 1952.

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