Royal Reels: Gambling


This illustrated cover has two N.S.W. lilac 1d ‘View of Sydney’ stamps, postmarked with the duplex SYDNEY/ AP 4/ 11-AM/ 95/ 32 with the N.S.W obliterator. It is addressed to Mrs Bradford, “Hillside”, Lower Sandy Bay, Hobart. The cover shows a black ink sketch of a man peering through a telescope, steps, and a sailing boat with 4 men watching the scene (Figure 1).

The reverse has s a LOWER SANDY BAY/ AP ( )/ ( )/ TASMANIA and a HOBART/ A/ AP 8/ 95/ TASMANIA postmarks, as well as a blue manuscript, in a hand quite different to the front, ‘from A.H. Fulwood artist’ (Figure 2).

The reverse manuscript was helpful, but the surname was spelt incorrectly with one, not two ‘ll’s. Albert Henry Fullwood was born on 15 March 1863 at Erdington, Birmingham, England, a son of Frederick John Fullwood, jeweller and his wife Emma. From the age of 15, he attended the Birmingham Institute on a scholarship (founded in 1843 as the Birmingham School of Design), and on completing his studies he migrated to Sydney in 1883. He was first employed by John Sands Ltd of Sydney, and worked as a black and white artist for the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia in 1883-86. He travelled extensively in Australia, New Guinea and later in New Zealand. He contributed drawings to the London Graphic and Black and White, as well as the Australian Town and Country Journal, the BulletinIllustrated Sydney News and the Sydney Mail. For the latter’s centennial issue in 1888 he made a large wood-engraving of Sydney.

As early as 1892, two of his water colours were purchased for the National Gallery at Sydney. He held a very successful exhibition of his work in 1900 at New York and he is represented in galleries in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, at Dresden and Budapest, and in the War Memorial Museum in Canberra. He played a leading part in the formation of the Society of Artists in Sydney, and was a member of its first council. He exhibited at the Royal Academy London in 1901, 1904 and later years, as well as at the Salon de la Societe des Artistes Francais, Paris. He was a friend of the better known Australian artists, Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton.

In 1896 he married Clyda Blanche, daughter of a photographer and they had two sons. In WW1 he joined the Allied Arts Corps, and from 1915-17 he served as a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, until discharged as medically unfit. In 1918 with the rank of honorary lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force, he went to France and painted scenes of the Western Front, mainly water-colours. When demobilized, he embarked for Sydney and in 1920 with John Shirlow he was founder of the Australian Painter-Etchers’ Society, and in 1924 he served on the first committee of the Australian Water-Colour Institute.

Fullwood died from pneumonia at The War Memorial Hospital,Waverley, N.S.W. on 1 October 1930, survived by a son. His estate was valued for probate at £844. His paintings show no resemblance to the pen drawing on this cover (to a non-expert as myself), but I can see the resemblance to the etching titled ‘Jack Straw’s Castle’ (Figures 3 & 4).

There are considerable numbers of his paintings and etchings on the internet, in addition to text on his life. I acknowledge that the on-line Australian Dictionary of Biography was particularly helpful in regards to his career.

Addendum:  Have found this postally used Tuck’s postcard which has on the front a painting of A.H. Fulwood’s entitled “The Botanical Gardens & Farm Cove Sydney (Figure 5).