The billy boy
ID numberART30245
Collection typeArt
TitleThe billy boy
Measurementframed: 92 x 76 cm; unframed: 70.2 x 53.4 cm
Object typePainting
MakerDobell, William
Place madeAustralia: New South Wales, Rathmines
Date made1943
Physical descriptionoil on cardboard on hardboard
CopyrightAWM copyright
DescriptionA portrait of Irishman Joe Westcott, painted at the Rathmines air base during the Second World War.

Dobell wrote of his model:
"He was a Glasgow Irishman & his name was Joe Westcott. He was more interested in political argument than boiling the billy - which was his only job. Whenever we were waiting for our tea at morning or afternoon smoko, Joe, a dinkum bush lawyer, was trying to shout someone else down in an earbashing contest, and we often had to boil our own billy. I painted him at Rathmines Air Base, where I worked on camouflage with Joshua Smith and a lot of other artists."