Fred WILLIAMS | Christopher Underhill

Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
England 1951-56

Christopher Underhill c.1953
oil on composition board
signed u.r., corner, oil "Fred Williams" Not dated.
117.4 (h) x 67.0 (w) cm
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1971
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 1971.37
© estate of Fred Williams


Among Williams’s friends in London was fellow Australian painter Anthony Underhill. In the evenings, after his daytime work at the picture framers, Williams often looked after Underhill’s young son Christopher. As he recalled: ‘I was the baby-sitter at the time for the Underhills – Christopher is now grown up. The particular time that I painted the picture was mid-summer in England … Christopher helped me to paint the background of the picture … I think he chose the colour. I had a sock. I didn’t go much for brushes in those days. He stroked most of it on. I always had the impression that he was a rather sickly child which is the way I painted him … But he has grown up to be a very strapping lad.’

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