Sydney Lough Thompson

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1877, d.1973

Portrait of Joy Clark

  • Christchurch Art Gallery Trust Collection
  • Oil on canvas
  • 550 x 463mm
  • L79/259
  • c. 1917

Sydney Lough Thompson was based in Concarneau, in Brittany, during World War I and, in order to make a living, held art classes. Joy Clark was one of his students and she is seen here working at an easel, with a mirror behind her reflecting her image. Thompson has used rapid, visible brushwork, creating a lively portrait. His brushwork shows he was influenced by British Naturalism and Post-Impressionism. Although better known for his landscapes, portraiture played a significant part in Thompson’s work. Born in Oxford, Canterbury, Thompson began studying at Canterbury College School of Art in 1895, as well as taking lessons from Petrus van der Velden (1837-1913). In 1900 he travelled to London and Europe and studied at Académie Julian, Paris. He returned to New Zealand in 1905, teaching at the School of Art from 1906 to 1911. Thompson then returned to Europe. Throughout his career he travelled regularly between New Zealand and Europe. He died in Concarneau, France.