The second volume of material pertaining to the Royal South Australian Society of Arts in the 19th century relies again on the Society’s archives and collections, and the digitised newspaper service on Trove. The document compiles the digital and actual records that have been located to date of the last 27 years of the century. This era spanned a period of relative inactivity of the Society, through competing colonial interests, drought, then economic depression. Also, during that time it was focused on administering the School of Design (later the South Australian School of Art), and founding the National Gallery of South Australia (later Art Gallery of South Australia), and it was unable to exhibit in its own rooms, due to lack of space. The Society was ultimately reinvigorated under the pro-term Presidency of Harry Pelling Gill in 1892, followed by the Chief Justice and Deputy Governor, Sir Samuel Way.
The Society is always interested to receive original copies of Reports, catalogues, early volumes of its journal Kalori, images of paintings and any other material relating to the the early years of the Society (then known as the South Australian Society of Arts) and its artists.
The articles include “Early Colonial Art and Artists” (1898), written by the Society’s first historian, Mary A Overbury and a fin-de-siécle review of art in the colony “Some South Australian Artists, Past and Present” (1899) published in the Adelaide Observer. There are also “The Cyclist and the Artist” by Alfred Scott Broad (Evening Journal) and a review of an exhibition by SA artists in London in 1898. Artists’ profiles include Thomas W Seyers (with report on lecture); Ernest Decimus Stocks (from GE Loyau); Henry James Johnstone; James Menpes & Son, the young Mortimer; Carl August Leberecht Saupé; Louis Tannert; the Schools of Art and the School of Design; Rosa Fiveash; Edmund Gouldsmith; Ernest William Christmas; and the Adelaide Art Circle, a group of a dozen artists and administrators who became crucial to the rehabilitation of the Society in the 1890s leading up to the building of its new rooms and current gallery in 1907.