A well known naval artist and former art editor of Brassey’s Naval and Shipping Annual in the 1920s, Arthur Burgess was born and educated in New South Wales before moving to England in 1901 when he studied at St Ives, Cornwall, under the watchful eyes of Julius Olsson and Algernon Talmage. He spent time studying his subject matter at the Royal Dockyards and over the years he captured some famous shops on canvas including the Ark Royal, Royal Yacht Britannia, Mauritania and a Sunderland Flying Boat, amongst others. His love of boats saw him paint yachts, warships, working ships and even barges. One of his most highly acclaimed works was the watercolour “Crossing the Bar” which depicts a steam ship making passage between reefs.
A member of the Royal Instution (RI) and Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) Burgess exhibited at the Royal Academy many times and his work also went on show in Paris and in his native Australia. He was also commissioned to provide artwork for various newspapers and magazines and was at one time the official naval artist of the Australian Commonwealth and in 1913 was commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales to paint the Australian Fleet as it entered Sydney Harbour.