Walter Withers / Australia 1854–1914 / Wet day c.1892 / Oil on composition board / 23.6 x 29.1cm /  Purchased 1982 with funds from Jack, David and Melissa Manton through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Walter Withers
Wet day c.1892

Not Currently on Display

Wet day is a small genre painting which is related to the urban work of Charles Conder and Arthur Streeton of the 1880s and particularly to Girolamo Nerli’s genre scenes. The work may have been painted close to Walter Withers’s studio in Collins Street, Melbourne, or (more probably) the subject may be a back street in South Yarra.

The work is a relatively early one, painted before the artist’s production of many of his most successful and best loved works at the Heidelberg School (1894–1903).

Walter Withers was born in Harndsworth, England in 1854. He arrived in Australia in 1882 and worked on the land for eighteen months. Withers trained at the Royal College of Art, London and Academie Julian, Paris. From 1887 to 1889 he lived in Paris and London, returning to Australia in 1889. Withers joined the artist’s camp at Eaglemont with Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin.

In 1891 he set up a studio in Melbourne, later moving to Creswick, Victoria, where he conducted open air classes attended by Norman and Percy Lindsay. Withers is a well known impressionist painter of the Heidelberg School. His work establishes close links with that of David Davies, who also sought an effective balance between the methods and outlook of impressionism and the lyrical moods of nature.


Discussion Questions

1. The artist has used a particular colour combination or palette to tell a story and create a mood. Can you describe how this painting makes you feel? What season do you think it is?

2.  Look closely at the centre of the painting. Can you see a small animal? Is this someone’s pet? 



1. Create a story to tell your friends what is happening in the painting. Who are the characters in your story and what are they doing?

2. Paint or draw a picture to show the end of your story.  Don’t forget to give your picture a title.