Museum of Brisbane

In the spotlight: Glenda Beck

Lady and umbrella

Richard Randall 1869 – 1906
Lady with umbrella, 1893
Oil on canvas

Glenda Beck is the Collection’s Manager at Museum of Brisbane and looks after the acquisition and preservation of items kept in the Museum’s collection. We recently asked her to share her thoughts about Richard Randall, one of Brisbane’s most prolific artists who produced 100s of works across the late 1800s to early 1900s.

Museum of Brisbane: Can you tell us how Museum of Brisbane ended up with so many of Richard Randall’s works?

Glenda Beck: Richard Randall passed away unexpectedly at 36 in 1906, his father George Randall, was an influential businessman who wanted to create a lasting legacy for his son, so he collected many of his artworks together and gave them under Deed of Trust to South Brisbane City Council in 1912.  In 1914 South Brisbane City Council opened the Richard Randall Gallery in the South Brisbane Library building on the 2nd floor.  In 1925 this Collection devolved to Brisbane City Council on the formation of the Greater Brisbane City Council.

MoB: How many Randall works are currently displayed in the Museum?

GB: Currently there are 3 artworks in The River: A history of Brisbane. Over the span of the exhibition a total of 6 of his artworks will be shown, this takes into account the rotations of the works on paper.  There is another of his artworks on show in The many lives of Moreton Bay.

MoB: Why do you think it is important for the Museum to continue displaying Randall’s works?

GB: Richard Randall’s artworks are indicative of his era, and of the local areas both in Brisbane and Cleveland as well as the North and South Coasts, so they will always be relevant and important in the representation of historical aspects of these areas and the art scene in Brisbane at the time.

MoB: What do you think makes Randall’s work stand apart?

GB: Richard Randall’s passionate depiction of the Australian natural landscape as well as his contribution as an art teacher in the fledgling art scene in Brisbane, make him an important part of the development of art and its appreciation in Brisbane.  His studio was situated in Cordelia St, South Brisbane, it is now heritage listed and has been relocated to the Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens where it is well utilised by local art societies. It was modelled on an English artists’ studio and is the only one of its kind in Australia.

MoB: Is there a work by Randall that you are particularly drawn too and if so, why?

GB: There are many landscapes and seascapes which are favourites, but the particular painting which is a favourite is a sensitive and fine portrait of his father George Randall.  It is technically a very good full length portrait which defines the love and respect with which the artist holds for his father.

George Randall
Richard Randall 1869 – 1906
George Randall
Oil on canvas