The billy boy

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Rathmines
Accession Number ART30245
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 92.2 cm x 75.6 cm x 6.5 cm; Unframed: 70.2 cm x 53.4 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on cardboard on hardboard
Maker Dobell, William
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Rathmines
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


A 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."