Museum of Brisbane

Who is William Bustard?

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“I can only say that I am captivated by the rich contrasts, beautiful skies, trees and clear light of this great land, and I am happy to say that I find countless people who respond in a similar way; and consequently derive great enjoyment from the never ending beauty of the Australian country side.”
William Bustard, 1955

William Bustard was a prolific artist, illustrator and stained-glass window designer in Brisbane during a defining period in the city’s art history. In particular his stained glass work is so prolific across the city, it’s easier to say which Brisbane churches and cathedrals his artwork isn’t found in than which ones they are in.

Bustard and his wife arrived in Brisbane in 1921 from London. At the time Brisbane was growing and establishing itself as a state capital, however with a population of less than 218,000, it was small compared to London. Despite this, Bustard had an immediate connection to the city and was captivated by the new landscape with its vast spaces and unfamiliar light.

As a stained-glass window designer, whose craft relied on the light to make it come alive, he enjoyed this new vibrancy. Decades later, he criticised other artists for not adapting to the Queensland landscape, stating “we see for some odd reason, many painters of a more realistic outlook trying to make Australia appear like the Continent or England.

Actively involved in the Brisbane art scene, Bustard was a teacher and a life member of the Royal Queensland Art Society. He was also a founding member of the Queensland National Art Gallery Board of Trustees and Arts Advisory Committee in 1931.

William Bustard: Painting with light features more than 100 works and objects, including reproductions of some of his most inspiring stained-glass windows. Don’t miss your chance to experience the work. Exhibition open from 19 June 2015.