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Papers of Laurie and Bronwyn Thomas, 1937-1995 [manuscript]
Bib ID 2631822
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Thomas, Laurie, 1915-1974
Related Online
Access Conditions Part available for research; part requires permission for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1937-1995] 
14.12 m. (75 boxes) + 4 cartons + 1 wooden box. 

The papers in MS 4921 consist of letters from Cynthia and Sidney Nolan, Will Ashton, Henry Bell, William Rose, Rex Rienits, Sir Russell Drysdale, Ian Fairweather and Daryl Lindsay and others, as well as cuttings, photographs and printed material. They cover most periods of Laurie Thomas' career, including his work in Cambridge following his award of a Gowrie Travelling Scholarship, his work as a student and then lecturer at Melbourne University, and the University of Western Australia, his periods as director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia and of the Queensland Art Gallery, his journalism for the Australian, and his notes for various publications. The collection also contains several files of correspondence, cuttings and other papers, 1965-1969, on the selection of the director of the National Gallery in Canberra (9 boxes).

The Acc01.244 instalment comprises papers, files, cuttings and posters concerning Bronwyn and Laurie Thomas' involvement in the art industry (66 boxes, 4 cartons, 1 wooden box).


Art gallery director and art critic. Laurence Nicholas Barrett (Laurie) Thomas was born in Melbourne in 1915. Thomas lectured in English at the University of Western Australia and, during World War II, worked in intelligence. Following the war, he took up a scholarship for ex-servicemen and studied at the University of Cambridge where he attended the classes of Ludwig Wittgenstein. On his return to Australia he worked as an art critic with the Melbourne Herald. He was appointed assistant-director of the National Gallery of Victoria, 1950-1952, director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1952-1956, and subsequently director of the Queensland Art Gallery, 1962-1967. Thomas also wrote art criticism and general review articles for the Australian. In 1976, he published The most noble art of them all: the selected writings of Laurie Thomas. He also edited 200 years of Australian painting (1971). Thomas died in Sydney in 1974.

Artist, art teacher, art gallery director and exhibition director. Dorothy Jean Bronwyn Thomas began her career as an architecture student at Melbourne Technical College. She pursued painting and became established as an artist under the signature of Bronwyn Yeates. As an art teacher during the 1950s and 1960s, Thomas took private students and ran the art section of Queensland University's architecture department. She married Laurie Thomas, director of the Queensland Art Gallery, in Brisbane in 1966, and moved to Sydney. Bronwyn Thomas was director of the Bonython Gallery in Paddington from 1971 to 1974 and became director of the Australian Centre for Photography, 1974-1977. She developed an interest in the people, language and culture of China and travelled to Beijing where she taught and also established connections with Chinese artists. She was appointed executive director of the Australian Art Exhibitions Corporation when it toured the 1978 exhibition of Colombian gold objects. Thomas died in Sydney in 2000.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 4921, MS Acc01.244.

Related Material Conversation with Laurie Thomas; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1/100.  Conversation with Bronwyn Yeates; Located at: National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1/40. 
Source of Acquisition Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Andrew Yeates (Acc01.244). 
Cited In

Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia ; C1156.

Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid (4 p.) available in the Special Collections Reading Room. 
Subjects Thomas, Laurie, 1915-1974 -- Archives.  |  Thomas, Bronwyn, 1923-2000 -- Archives.  |  Art critics -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Arts administrators -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Art museum directors -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Painters -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Women painters -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Art teachers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Women art teachers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Art -- Australia.
Time Coverage 1937-1995 
Occupation Journalists.  |  Art critics.  |  Arts administrators.  |  Art gallery directors.  |  Painters.  |  Art teachers.
Other authors/contributors Thomas, Bronwyn, 1923-2000


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    MS 4921 Special Collections Reading Room - item/s may be unavailable
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    MS Acc01.244 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required
    Unprocessed instalment
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