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Nelson Illingworth

1862 – 1926

Nelson Illingworth trained in sculpture in England and worked as a modeller at the Royal Doulton potteries for nine years before moving to Australia. In the 1890s he set up the Denbrae Fine Art Pottery at Forest Lodge to make a range of flowerpots, fernpots and statuettes. A member of the Dawn and Dusk Club, which also included Henry Lawson and Victor Daley, he made 'jorums, jugs, goblets and flagons of clay, china and porcelain for the use and delight' of the members of the Club. In September 1895, he showed portrait medallions of Aboriginal people at the Society of Artists, Sydney. The Australian Town and Country Journal reported in March 1896 that Illingworth’s busts of ‘fine specimens’- an Aboriginal man (known as Jerry Murphy), an unidentified woman and a woman known as Nelly - which were displayed at the time in niches in the Sydney Art Gallery ‘form interesting mementoes of a dying race.’ Apart from a series of portrait busts of Maori leaders, he made many other heads, busts and statuettes, including a bust and a life-or-death mask of Lawson, a fine bust of Cardinal Moran, a life-sized informal statue of James Manifold (unveiled by Stanley Bruce in 1921) and a life-sized statue of Parkes. One of the sculptors who worked with Tommaso Sani on the façade of the Lands Department Building in Bridge Street, Sydney, Illingworth was preparing a design for the Lawson memorial monument when he died.
Updated 2019