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  • Title
    Roderick Shaw papers and pictorial material
  • Creator
  • Level of description
  • Date

    ca. 1916 - 1992
  • Type of material
  • Reference code

    Roderick Malcolm Shaw was born at Drummoyne, N.S.W., in 1915. He was educated at Sydney High and at East Sydney National Art School. In 1935 he was a foundation member of The Windsor Group of Sydney artists who painted in the Hawkesbury region. In 1989 he published an account of these artists, The Windsor Group 1935-1945. The previous year his Retrospective Exhibition 1938-1988 had been held at the Woolloomooloo Gallery.

    In 1939 Shaw and Dick Edwards established The Barn on the Hill Press at Woolloomooloo. During the war he was a camoufleur with the R.A.A.F.. The commercial operations of the two partners resumed in 1945 under the imprint of Edwards & Shaw. The respective talents of Dick, a printer and poet, and Rod, a painter and commercial artist, combined to establish a firm which would become synonomous in Australian publishing for exacting standards in book design and production. The firm excelled in small edition publications and in publishing the the works of poets, including A. D. Hope's first book of verse, The Wandering Islands (1955). Edwards & Shaw closed down production on 11 November 1983.

    Shaw was a member of the Communist Party of Australia from the war years until 1956. During the same period he taught and exhibited with the Studio of Realist Art (SORA), of which he was a founder. SORA published ten regular bulletins and held exhibitions at its studio in George Street, Sydney and at David Jones' Gallery. In the early 1950s Shaw had designed the spectacular mural depicting the history of the Australian working class and the labour movement located in the Sydney headquarters of the Waterside Workers' Federation. He also conducted classes for the Wharfies Art Group. He went on to teach drawing and painting in technical colleges, the University of N.S.W, and Arts Council Summer Schools.

    As a social and political activist, Shaw was instrumental in the founding of several groups. Artists' Action was committed to constitutional reform following the sacking of the Whitlam Labor Government in 1975. Action of Artists was inspired by the late Lloyd Rees' advocacy for the protection of the national environmental heritage. He was a member of Artists for Nuclear Disarmament in the mid-1980s.

    Rod Shaw married Frances Cottingham at St Matthew's, Windsor, in 1939; she died in 1983. They had three children, Chrissie, Kydric and Rowan. Shaw's companion for the last five years of his life was Enid Colquhoun. Rod Shaw died on 7 December 1992.

    Harry Stein (1919-1994), journalist and jazz aficionado, was a long-time friend of Rod Shaw. In 1992 he produced with Shaw's assistance the exhibition Artists & Rebels on the Waterfront, 1939-1992, in Sydney. He gave the inaugural Edwards & Shaw Lecture as part of a memorial tribute to Shaw at the Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery on 25 July 1993. Stein's book, From The Barn on the Hill to Edwards & Shaw, 1939-1983, was published posthumously in 1996. The research material he had compiled for the book included documentation on the the Australian printing by Edwards & Shaw of The Trial of Lady Chatterly (1965), a banned title which challenged book censorship in Australia.
  • Scope and Content
    SERIES 1
    Roderick Shaw - papers, ca. 1916-1992, together with the papers of Frances Shaw, 1941-1981, Chrissie Shaw, 1992-1993, and Harry Stein, 1927-1994

    SERIES 2
    Roderick Shaw pictorial material

    SERIES 3
    Roderick Shaw oral history interviews with artists
  • System of arrangement
    This collection comprises 3 record series. You may navigate to a more detailed description of each series from this collection record.
  • Language
  • Copying Conditions
    In copyright:
    Please acknowledge:: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
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