Today marks the 44th anniversary of the death of Brisbane artist and former All Hallows’ School art teacher William Bustard. Born in Yorkshire, England in 1894, Bustard studied at the Slade School of Art in London and then under the stained-glass master James Powell, who was aligned with the Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival design movements. After serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War One, Bustard travelled to Europe to repair medieval stained glass in France and Belgium.
Bustard emigrated to Queensland with his wife Lily in 1921, and by October of that year was exhibiting with the Queensland Art Society. He was a ‘welcome recruit’ to the State’s art scene according to The Telegraph, and was soon elected the Society’s treasurer and then, in 1932, its president. To support himself, Bustard took on a range of commissions and teaching positions, including at All Hallows’ School. Bustard began as a visiting art master in 1926, and remained at the School for twelve years. While Sisters of Mercy at All Hallows’ taught the majority of art students, Bustard was responsible for tutoring the school’s most advanced and promising students.
The Sisters of Mercy were proud to have Bustard on staff, as they wanted to encourage excellence in art along with music among their students. His presence at the school was particularly appreciated by Sr Celestine Phelan, a lover of art after whom the All Hallows’ Celestine Art Centre is named for today.
Bustard had a marked influence on the style of his students at the school. His own preference for landscapes and cityscapes, and his use of light and colour, is seen reflected in the work of students such as Paula Rosenstengel. The All Hallows’ building and outlook, in turn, inspired Bustard’s work. The convent and gardens and the All Hallows’ Main Building, along with the Sisters of Mercy themselves, feature in several of his paintings from this time. Copies of watercolours by Bustard appeared in the first two editions of the All Hallows’ School Magazine, which Bustard helped establish in the early 1930s.