painter, was a pupil of Lister Lister . In 1895 she had a studio at 49 Roslyn Gardens (advertisement in 1895 Art Society of NSW exhibition catalogue). She appears to have first exhibited with the Art Society of NSW in 1892, when the Illustrated Sydney News (3 September 1892, p.4) noted: 'Miss Jessie E. Scarvell is another of the new exhibitors and shows great promise’. She was elected an ordinary member of the Society’s Council in 1894-96 and 1898-99 [possibly continuously]. The Art Gallery of New South Wales [AGNSW] holds her The Lonely Margin of the Sea 1894, oil on canvas, presented by H. Bush in 1894. It was shown in the Art Society of NSW’s annual exhibition in 1894 (cat.332) then was included in the Grafton Gallery’s Exhibition of Australian Art in London in April 1898. A review in the Pall Mall Gazette mentioned it among 'all the good things’ that there was no space to mention (reprinted Sydney Morning Herald [ SMH ], 12 May 1898, p.7). Scarvell is said to have exhibited at least 67 landscapes, yet the only one identified to be in a public collection is that in the AGNSW. Several oil landscapes by Scarvell in the National Library of Australia’s Rex Nan Kivell collection are apparently dated c.1875-1879 and so are thus thought to be by another artist.

Scarvell’s Still Waters , exhibited with the Art Society of NSW in October 1892, was reproduced in the Building and Engineering Journal (29 October 1892, p.178). On 2 September 1893, p.3, the Illustrated Sydney News noted of her oils in the 14th annual exhibition: 'No.253. “At the Foot of They Crags or Sea” by Miss J.E.S: A seascape well composed and showing strength and confidence in the treatment – a good bright out of door effect and harmonious colouring. No.146. “Sand Dunes”, Miss Scarvell: A very clever bright painting of the sand dunes and a distant sea. This lady through all her work this year shows promise of still better work to come.’ The Bulletin (9 September 1893, p.14) commented that she showed talent in rendering shipping scenes.

SMH 29 September 1894, p.7 noted re the Society’s exhibition that year: “Miss Jessie E. Scarvell, who first made her mark last year with a similar subject, scores again with “The Lonely Margin of the Sea” (332). Here the sand-dune glistening in the strong light is treated with commanding skill, and in spite of the seeming bareness of the subject, the artist has contrived to achieve the picturesque. Various other oils also merit attention.’ Bernard Smith (cat. AGNSW, p.186) says that Scarvell exhibited 12 paintings, including seven oils, at the 1894 Exhibition of the Society and 12 oil paintings the following year. Her 'sea study (no.8) with a cloudy sky and a good distance’ was included in the 1895 University of Sydney Women’s College Exhibition ( SMH 28 May 1895, p.6).

In its review of the Art Society’s 1895 exhibition, the SMH noted (28 September 1895, p.7):

Miss J.E. Scarvell is probably at her best in “Mountain, Mead, and Stream” (No.68), for this view of the Liverpool Range, with its purple tints, green fields, and winding stream, is sympathetically wrought. “Shade” (No.57) shows a pretty forest glade, and there is a more noticeable contribution entitled “Harben Vale” (No.11). The amplitude of the foreground herein is a source of weakness, but the grey tones are harmonious, and the left-hand background of field and bush is so painted as to give artistic interest and value to the ensemble.

At the Art Society’s 1896 exhibition, the SMH critic stated (10 October 1896, p.7):

Miss J.E. Scarvell in “Wyangarie, the Northern Borderland of New South Wales” (No.31), successfully treats an expansive foreground of rich pasture covered with high grass, divided only by a belt of distant scrub from the chain of purple cloud-capped hills which bound the horizon. This is one of the best works Miss Scarvell has ever exhibited. In her “Sunlit Fields” (no.105) the stretch of gold-green glass is too wanting in detail even allowing for the effect of distance, but the clever handling of the stream and tufted grass hard by redeems the picture.

Scarvell married a Mr Bundock and moved to the Canberra region, where she is thought to have given up painting. Despite marrying late in life, she had a daughter.

Staff Writer
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