The Holiday Cartoon was created by English artist Henry Holiday as a proof for a stain glass window in the parish church of Yeovil, Somerset, England.
Its allegorical design illustrates the text "and there was warfare in heaven"(1). It comprises five canvas panels that stand up to 10 feet high.
It was a principle feature of the interior decorations undertaken for the opening of Winthrop Hall in 1932. It was placed on the dais beneath the Rose Window in a jarrah wood frame designed by Rodney Alsop, one of the architects who designed the Hackett Memorial Buildings.
The cartoon remained on the dais until the installation of the organ in 1963. Today the Holiday Cartoon is on display at University’s Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.
The Holiday Cartoon was purchased for £100 in 1927 by Professor (later Sir) Walter Murdoch who was in Europe at the time looking for works of art and books on behalf of the University of Western Australia. He bought it from the late Holiday’s daughter Winifred, who was selling some of his works to public institutions in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States (2).
Henry Holiday (1839 – 1927), with Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, led a revival of arts and crafts in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th century. His most famous painting is "The Meeting of Dante and Beatrice" which was reproduced extensively in the earlier part of this century due to its popularity.
Holiday worked chiefly in the stain glass medium. However, it was normal practice to produce full-size proofs in watercolour. (3)
(1) UWAA 3431(5). Original notes and letters from First Series Files. June 1932.
(2) UWAA 3431(5). Original notes and letters from First Series Files. June 1932.
(3) UWAA 3429. Original notes and letters from First Series File. 1927 – 1930. Alexander, F. (1963). Campus at Crawley. Melbourne: Cheshire. pp 815 and 643.