Biography

Birth date: 1944
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne

Peter Corlett was born in Melbourne in 1944. He studied sculpture at RMIT from 1961to 1964. In 1975, he was awarded a special projects grant from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council. In 1977, he was artist in residence at the Darwin Community College, and between 1977 and 1980 was artist in residence at the Exeter University and Exeter College of Art. His works are represented in the collections at museums and art galleries of the Northern Territory, National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House, Museum of Victoria and many colleges and universities.

Corlett was commissioned to produce several commemorative sculptures for the Memorial in recent years.

In 1987, Corlett was the winner of a competition to design a memorial to commemorate the courage and compassion of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, an enduring symbol of the sacrifices made by all Australian soldiers who served in the First World War.

His finely modelled, realistic portrayal of Simpson relieving the suffering of soldiers on Gallipoli celebrates the humanity of ordinary people, emphasising the drama of Simpson's simple act of compassion. The wounded man, mounted on the donkey, powerfully portrays mixed feelings of anxiety, tension and obvious dependence. His pain is well expressed through the tension in his arms and legs. Simpson walking beside the donkey conveys calm, resolve and compassion.

Corlett also won the design competition to produce the commemorative sculpture of Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop, which was unveiled in 1995. It symbolises the sacrifice of all Australian doctors and medical staff who served Australian prisoners of war in the Asia Pacific between 1939-1945. Other works in the Memorial's collection include The man in the mud (in the Western Front Gallery), They also served, (Two WRANS 1941-1985), on display in the Second World War Gallery, and the maquette for Simpson and his donkey, 1915.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Art

Study for Simpson and his donkey

Depicts two unidentified men, representing an unknown wounded soldier and John Simpson Kirkpatrick (known as Simpson or the Man with the donkey). This is a preliminary drawing for the sculpture by Peter Corlett commemorating Simpson's work in rescuing wounded men during the First World War...

ART29054

Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop

This sculpture of Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop (1907-1993) commemorates all Australian doctors and other medical staff who served Australian prisoners of war in the Asia Pacific region between 1939-1945. Located in the sculpture garden of the Australian War Memorial, the scale of the work is larger...

ART90407

Maquette for 'Simpson and his donkey 1915'

In 1987 sculptor Peter Corlett won a competition to design a memorial to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, a 3rd Field Ambulance stretcher-bearer who became the most prominent symbol of Australian courage and tenacity on Gallipoli. Corlett's winning design...

ART40983

They also served

Two figures, on left wearing WRANS uniform of Second World War and on right the uniform adopted after the WRANS was absorbed into the RAN in the 1970s. Both are saluting.

ART41001

Man in the mud

A figure of an Australian soldier sitting in the mud with his head in his hands in the Western Front during the First World War. This life sized diorama was commissioned to highlight the harsh conditions the soldiers endured.

ART41003

Simpson and his donkey, 1915

'Arguably Australia's most famous soldier is neither a general nor a Victoria Cross recipient, but a stretcher bearer who served briefly in the nation's first major campaign'. Peter Corlett's sculpture 'Simpson and his donkey, 1915' marks both a reaffirmation and a fresh look at this essential...

ART40993

mould for Bullecourt Digger

In August 1992 the Office of the Australian War graves commissioned Melbourne artist Peter Corlett to create a sculpture to commemorate the 10,000 Australians who were killed or wounded in the two battles of Bullecourt in 1917. Corlett's sculpture of a young Australian soldier looks over the former...

ART93141

Heraldry

80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance Medal : A W Campbell

80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance Medal. Pantograph engraved around edge with recipient's details.

REL30869.004

Timeline

Date of birth 1944