Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Morris, Gwendolyn (1904 - 1993)

Born
17 January 1904
South Australia, Australia
Died
1993
South Australia, Australia
Occupation
Professional photographer

Summary

Gwendolyn Morris was known for the photographs she created in the Pictorialist style, as well as for her architectural photographs.

Details

Gwendolyn Morris was born on 17 January 1904, in South Australia, into a wealthy family. Her father was Hugh Allan Morris and her mother May Gwendolyn Russell. The family travelled to England in 1923 where they stayed for six to seven months, travelling and sightseeing, and then returned to Australia.

As a young adult Morris would travel to England again, this time staying for a year, attending the London Polytechnic, where she studied photography. She was offered a job with the BBC at the Savoy Hill studios, where her work entailed photographing presenters, printing and enlarging prints for the Radio Times and The Listener.

During her spare time she wandered through London, taking her own photographs of the architecture, Covent Garden, The Strand and Trafalgar Square. Two of her well-known photographs - Cleopatra's Needle and Adelphi Arches - were photographed at night. The architectural forms are engulfed by darkness and are only lit in small places by the dim street lighting, creating a mysterious ambience.

Her photographs were included in the catalogues of the Adelaide Camera Club. The Art Gallery of South Australia purchased some of her photographs in 1926 (this was the first State Gallery to add photography to its collection).

She married James Wilmot Griffiths and moved to Berkshire, where she had three children. They moved back to Adelaide for a number of years after the war, but returned to England until her husband retired in 1966.

Morris was also a keen flower arranger and studied under Constance Spry in England. She went on to become a leader of the 'Flower Ladies' at the Lyceum Club in Adelaide.

Collections

Art Gallery of South Australia

Events

c. 1920 - c. 1930
Active as a professional Pictorialist
1981
Exhibition - Gwendolyn Morris's work featured in Australian Women Photographers 1840-1950. Location: George Paton Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria.
2007 - 2008
Exhibition - Gwendolyn Morris's work featured in A Century in Focus: South Australian Photography, 1840s-1940s. Location: Art Gallery of South Australia.

Anne Maxwell (with Morfia Grondas and Lucy Van)

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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