Lily Allport, chistened Curzona Francis Louise, was a strong woman who lived between two worlds – the old and the new. Born in the nineteenth century to a prominent Hobart family of lawyers, Lily refused to take the expected path of marriage and children. Described by her brother-in-law as ‘impudent and headstrong’, Lily was determined to become a professional artist.
Her drive to follow her own path took her to London and success in the Royal Academy of Arts, and a satisfying life at the centre of the nineteenth-century artistic world. And then in the 1930s, at an age when she might be expected to ease up, she returned to Hobart and set up a printmaking studio, creating a late flowering of works in an entirely different medium.
This book follows her journey from a society literally at the end of the world to its very centre – London, Paris and Rome. It is lavishly illustrated with more than 200 examples of her work: drawings, watercolours, oils and prints.
While the heroine of this book is Lily, it also offers portraits in miniature of other members of her interesting family, whose impact of Tasmanian life continues today with the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts. It draws on existing and new research to create a picture of the artist and to give her a well-deserved place in the record of Tasmania and Australian artistic endeavour.
Above all, it is a tribute to Lily’s considerable talent and determination to live her own life.