John Perceval

John Perceval

Last updated September 18, 2012

Biography

Perceval was born Linwood Robert Steven South at Bruce Rock, Western Australia, the second child of Robert South (a wheat farmer) and Dorothy (née Dolton). His parents separated in 1925 and he remained at his father's farm until reunited with his mother in Melbourne in 1935. Following the marriage of his mother to William de Burgh Perceval, he changed his name to John and adopted the surname de Burgh Perceval.

In 1938 Perceval contracted polio and was hospitalised, giving him the opportunity to further his skills at drawing and painting. Enlisting in the army in 1941 Perceval first met and befriended Arthur Boyd. He married Boyd's younger sister Mary in 1944 and together they had four children.

Perceval held his first solo exhibition at the Melbourne Book Club in 1948 and showed regularly with the Contemporary Art Society. Between 1949 and 1955 he concentrated on producing earthenware ceramics and helped to establish the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery in Murrumbeena. Returning to painting in 1956 Perceval produced a series of images of Williamstown and Gaffney's Creek.

Moving to England in 1963 Perceval held solo exhibitions in London, and travelled to Europe, before returning to Australia in 1965 to take up the first Australian National University Creative Fellowship.

Suffering from alcoholism and schizophrenia in 1974 Perceval committed himself to the psychiatric hospital Larundel, Melbourne, where he remained until 1981. Perceval was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1991 for services to the arts.

In 2000 from 19 August to 19 October John Perceval Retrospective Exhibition was held and this was the last of many retrospectives.

Prior to his death Scudding Swans (1959) sold for $552,500, a record for a living Australian painter. In March 2010, it was sold for $690,000.

Still Life Flowers
Ink.
Donated by Patrick Corrigan AM 2012.

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