The billy boy

The billy boy The billy boy ART30245

William Dobell

The billy boy

oil on cardboard on hardboard

70.2 x 53.4cm


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.