Biography

Birth date: 18 January 1908
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Stanmore
Death date: 07 November 1986
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: NX13548 - Second World War, 1939-1945

Lyndon Raymond Dadswell was the first sculptor to be appointed an official war artist of the Second World War. Born in Stanmore, New South Wales, he attended the Julian Ashton School from 1923 to 1925. In the following four years he was a student of the influential British sculptor and teacher Rayner Hoff at East Sydney Technical College. In 1929, at the age of 21, Dadswell worked as an assistant to Paul Montford on the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. He was responsible for the 12 sandstone panels of the inner frieze in the Shrine's interior. In 1933 he won the Art Gallery of New South Wales Wynne Prize. With a reputation as one of Australia s promising young sculptors, Dadswell travelled to London in 1935 to study at the Royal Academy. He returned to Sydney two years later to take up a teaching position at East Sydney Technical College (later the National Art School), which he continued to do intermittently until 1967.

Following the onset of the Second World War, Dadswell enlisted in the 2nd Division Australian Imperial Forces on 29 April 1940 (service no. NX13548). With the rank of acting corporal, he embarked for the Middle East on 30 August 1940 and fought with the 2/3 Battalion in Greece, Libya and Syria. On 22 June 1941 he sustained gunshot wounds to the head and left leg while fighting the Vichy French in the Syrian campaign. For several months prior to his injury, Dadswell s supporters back in Australia had been advocating the Commonwealth Arts Advisory Board, the Department of Information, and the Australian War Memorial, for his appointment as an official war artist. In September 1941 Dadswell was promoted to lieutenant and commissioned as an official war artist.

Based in Cairo, Dadswell created sculptures of his war time experience serving with the Australian infantry in the Middle East. He made stand alone pieces, as with Soldier in summer dress and Bomb thrower. These works echo the heroic, but egalitarian intention of sculpture from the First World War. However Dadswell s stylistic transition is clear. Through a dramatic reduction in detail Dadswell has removed any sense of naturalism. There is a greater emphasis on the voluminous form of the human figure and depicting unified movement. Greece, a group of three soldiers of the 16th Brigade, 6th Division, demonstrates Dadswell s stylistic and symbolic intentions. He has transcended his personal sense of the futility of war to create sculptures that express great admiration for the determination and courage of the soldiers he fought alongside.

Dadswell returned to Australia in 1942, and resigned from his commission as an official artist in December. He resumed teaching, and was a major influence on the next generation of Australian sculptors. Dadswell continued to produce and exhibit his own work, and also secured several major public commissions including King George V Memorial, and the Newcastle Memorial Newcastle War Memorial Cultural Centre.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Photograph

044656

Middle East, 1941. Two official war artists: sculptor Lieutenant (Lt) Lyndon R. Dadswell (left) and painter SX7174 Ivor Henry Thomas Hele. Lt Dadswell, a sculptor, was appointed an Official War Artist on 2 September 1941, having enlisted in 1940. He served with the 2/3rd Battalion in Greece as a...

044656

023075

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023075

023076

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023076

023077

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023077

023078

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023078

023079

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023079

023080

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023080

023081

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023081

023082

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023082

023083

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023083

023084

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023084

023085

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023085

023086

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023086

023087

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023087

023088

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023088

023089

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023089

023090

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. ONE OF A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE REQUEST OF SCULPTOR LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL OF AN ARTILLERY SHOOT BY THE 2/7TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD REGIMENT. THEY WERE USED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE MODELLING OF A 25-POUNDER GUN TEAM IN ACTION.

023090

023365

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-01. LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL, THE OFFICIAL A.I.F. SCULPTOR, ATTACHED TO THE MILITARY HISTORY AND INFORMATION SECTION.

023365

023366

Cairo, Egypt. 1942-01. Lieutenant (Lt) Lyndon Dadswell, the Official A.I.F. sculptor, attached to the Military History and Information Section. Lt Dadswell, was appointed an Official War Artist on 2 September 1941, having enlisted in 1940. He served with the 2/3rd Battalion in Greece as a private,...

023366

023633

Cairo, Egypt. 1942-02. The official war sculptor, Lieutenant (Lt) Lyndon Dadswell, attached to the Military History and Information Section packing up prior to the departure from the Middle East. Lt Dadswell, was appointed an Official War Artist on 2 September 1941, having enlisted in 1940. He...

023633

023634

Cairo, Egypt. 1942-02. The official war sculptor, Lieutenant (Lt) Lyndon Dadswell, attached to the Military History and Information Section packing up prior to the departure from the Middle East. Lt Dadswell, was appointed an Official War Artist on 2 September 1941, having enlisted in 1940. He...

023634

023677

CAIRO, EGYPT. 1942-02. GENERAL SIR THOMAS AND LADY BLAMEY INSPECTING THE WORK OF LIEUTENANT LYNDON DADSWELL, THE OFFICIAL WAR SCULPTOR WITH THE MILITARY HISTORY AND INFORMATION SECTION.

023677

P00737.001

This number not used. Image held as 044656.

P00737.001

P02479.005

NX13548 Lieutenant (Lt) Lyndon R. Dadswell inspects his plaster model of the sculpture, Stretcher Bearers. Lt Dadswell, a sculptor, was appointed an Official War Artist on 2 September 1941, having enlisted in 1940. He served with the 2/3rd Battalion in Greece as a private, was promoted to acting...

P02479.005

100266

Cairo, Egypt. 1941-08. Group portrait of Officers of HQ AIF Middle East. Left to right: Back row: Captain (Capt) E. H. Wilson; SX7174 Capt Ivor Henry Thomas Hele; TX2048 Capt E. W. Seldon; Lieutenant (Lt) D. W. C. Moore; NX11810 Capt C. Cheong; VX3049 Capt D. J. Jackson; NX12283 Capt F. M. Paton;...

100266

Art

Head study (Lyndon Dadswell)

Portrait depicting the official war artist Corporal Lyndon Dadswell 2 Australian Imperial Force, 7th Australian Division. Lyndon Dadswell, one of Australia's most accomplished sculptors, was the first sculptor to be appointed an official war artist during the Second World War. Dadswell enlisted in...

ART21899

Soldier In Winter Dress

Plaster cast of unidentified male soldier dressed in winter uniform. It was acquired under official war art scheme in 1946 and a bronze edition cast in 1987.

ART26392

Stretcher Bearers

Plaster statue of a soldier lying on a stretcher with two stretcher bearers tending him.

ART26393

Bomb thrower

Depicts a soldier in uniform with a grenade in one hand that he is about to throw. A bronze edition was cast in 1985.

ART26394

Greece [first version]

Originally entitled 'Patrol', this is the first version of 'Greece' produced by Dadswell while in the Middle East. The sculpture shows three soldiers of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division on a forced march across Mount Olympus. Another version (ART26401) was made shortly after returning to...

ART26395

Soldier in summer dress

This is the second version that Dadswell completed of 'Soldier in summer dress'. He made the first version in the Middle East in 1941. It was reproduced on the cover of 'Active service' in 1941. The first version was possibly badly damaged in transit from the Middle East to Australia, and...

ART26397

Munition workers

Plaster sculpture of male and female munition workers, cast in 1942.

ART26398

Soldier with a Bren gun

Plaster of a soldier holding a Bren gun. A bronze edition of this sculpture was later cast.

ART26399

Greece [second version]

This sculpture features a group of three soldiers from the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division. Dadswell was aware of the military historical significance of this sculpture of the campaign in Greece, which was not recorded by any other Australian artist, He wrote: "The 'Greece' group represents the...

ART26401

Lieutenant R. W. Sanderson

Portrait of Lieutenant Roger Sanderson from the 2/10 Australian Infantry Battalion. A bronze edition was cast in 1986.

ART26408

Face mask

Face mask of Colonel J S Purdy, DSO, VD, CO Third Australian General Hospital, Abbeville, 1918.

ART26409

Stretcher bearers

Bronze statue of a soldier lying on a stretcher with two stretcher bearers tending him. This edition was cast in bronze in 1985 by Meridian Sculpture Founders, Melbourne.

ART40930

Lieutenant R. W. Sanderson

Portrait of Lieutenant Roger Sanderson from the 2/10 Australian Infantry Battalion. This bronze edition was cast in 1986, taken from the plaster edition created c.1940.

ART40986

maquette for 'Figure group'

This work is the last of five casts made for Dadswell's family, the only one released commercially. The bronze memorial sculpture 'Figure group', for which this work was modelled is held by the Newcastle War Memorial Cultural Centre, NSW. It measures 11 feet in height. Bronze cast 1987, Sydney;...

ART40991

Munition workers

Male and female munition workers stepping forward together striving for agreed goals.

ART40926

Soldier with a Bren gun

Soldier mid-stride as if on a march, with a Bren gun over his soldier. Plaster cast c.1942, Middle East; bronze cast 1986, Melbourne.

ART40969

Soldier in summer dress

Dadswell completed two versions of 'Soldier in summer dress'. The sculpture depicts an Australian soldier holding a rifle and wearing 'summer dress' consisting of shorts, short sleeved shirt and boots and socks. The first was made in the Middle East, but was badly damaged in transit to Australia,...

ART40929

Soldier in winter dress

Bronze statue of an Australian soldier dressed in winter uniform in Greece during the Second World War. This bronze edition was cast in 1987, plaster acquired under official war art scheme in 1942.

ART40987

Greece

Dadswell completed the plaster model for 'Greece' in July 1943, in time for the touring exhibition which opened in Melbourne that year. It was his second, larger and more finished interpretation of a group of three soldiers of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division. The earlier sketch model,...

ART40925

Head of a soldier

This is a bronze bust of an Australian soldier. In the Daily Telegraph (01/05/1942), interviewer Mr R.C.H. McKie writes "Among the men he [Dadswell] marched and fought with, the sculpture found three types of Australians, but not one typical Australian type. He decided to combine the three types...

ART27763

Bomb thrower

Depicts a soldier in uniform with a bomb in one hand, about to launch it at his target. The plaster cast made in 1942, Cairo, and the bronze was cast in 1985 by Meridian Sculpture Founders, Melbourne.

ART40928

Forced march

This sculpture depicts a soldier on a forced march over Mt Olympus in the intense winter cold. Troops had to cover great distances, with a complete lack of roads and suitably warm clothing and equipment to escape from the German Army during the Greek campaign.

ART40988

Timeline

Date of birth 1908-01-18
Other 1941-09-02 Appointed official war artist.
Date of death 1986-11-07