Godfrey Rivers

Godfrey Rivers

Name: Godfrey Rivers

Epoch: Early 20th Century (the \'Long Early Twentieth Century\')

Grouping Field: Peformance, Visual Art, and Music

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28\'35.0\"S 153°01\'40.0\"E

Years At Location: 1915

One Historical Setting: Mr. Richard Godfrey Rivers, Art Department, Central Technical College, George Street, Brisbane City (1915)

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Godfrey Rivers was a highly-regarded Australian artist and teacher, internationally-known for his ‘Woolshed New South Wales’ (1890). He was better known among the locals as the Art Master at the Brisbane (Central) Technical College (1890-1910, part-time 1910-1915). Rivers was President of the Queensland Art Society in 1892-1901 and 1904-1908. He was also Queensland National Art Gallery’s first curator (1895-1914).

Impact On Brisbane Society

Godfrey Rivers taught at his Brisbane studio, at the Brisbane High School for Girls and at Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School; his students included Bessie Gibson, Vida Lahey, and Harold Parker. Well forgotten today in Brisbane’s mass culture, Rivers was once an icon of the artistic hopes for the city. The Godfrey Rivers Trust was founded by his wife, Selina Jane Godfrey, née Bell, for the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), and established the Godfrey Rivers prize (acquisitive) and purchased art works. As noted by Janet Hogan, among the favourite art works of Rivers, which spoke of the local history ethos, was the portrait of the QAG’s founding President, Sir Samuel Griffith, which hangs in the Supreme Court of Queensland, and ‘Under the Jacaranda’ (1903), which hangs in the Gallery.


Janet Hogan, ‘Rivers, Richard Godfrey (1858–1925)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rivers-richard-godfrey-8217/text14379, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 4 July 2019.

Image Citation

‘Under the jacaranda’ by Richard Godfrey Rivers, 1903. Queensland Art Gallery.