Ethel Anna Stephens
[Looking towards Mt Wellington from Sandy Bay]
oil on wood panel
signed ‘Ethel A Stephens’ and dated ’27.12.97’ lower left original frame
21.5 x 34.0 cm
From The Mercury, Hobart, 16 October, 1893, p4: ‘The Art Society of Tasmania, in arranging for an exhibition at which the societies of the other colonies are invited to exhibit, is starting upon the most important enterprise it has yet undertaken. For years the Society has worked onwards, being supported only by the members' subscriptions and prizes generously offered from time to time by private persons. But now, surely, the time has come when the Government might be approached on our behalf and asked to give a sufficient sum of money to buy, say, six of the pictures which the Australian artists exhibit here next February, for the galleries of Hobart and Launceston. Good examples of the Australian school of painting would be invaluable, not only as additions to the galleries, but also from an educational point of view. In the event of a sum being granted, a great incentive would be offered to the best artists to send their work to Hobart. Mr. Fullwood has done much by mentioning our show to the Sydney artists, and is also prepared to send work himself… I went to see Miss Ethel Stephens' very charming studio, and, I hope, enlisted her sympathy and support on our behalf…’
Ethel Stephens exhibited works at the Art Society of Tasmania exhibition in 1894 and she exhibited one painting, a flower piece, at the Society in 1900. She exhibited there again in 1916. The Sydney Morning Herald of 24 March, 1926, p9, reported that: 'Miss Ethel Stephens, president of the society [of Women Painters], has returned from Tasmania, where she has been on a sketching tour.’ We can find no record of Looking towards Mt Wellington from Sandy Bay being exhibited. The painting is dated two days after Christmas which may indicate that she was on holidays. The painting may therefore have been a gift and not intended for exhibition.