A finely painted late 19th century view of Mt Wellington from Tranmuir House, Tranmere, Tasmania c 1895. Oil on canvas on original stretcher & broad Tasmanian oak frame.
Inscriptions & title verso. Provenance: Lewis family Hobart. Mint original condition..Image size 25cm x 46cm..Frame size 47cm x 68cm
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Mabel Hookey was born on 29 January 1871 at Clarence, in Tasmania. She was the eldest daughter of Vernon William Bligh Hookey, a barrister and solicitor, and Dorothy (née Stokell). She had a sister, Dora, and a brother, Vernon. The three children grew up with their maternal grandfather, George Stokell, at the Rokeby estate, which Mabel later inherited.
Hookey attended the Ladies Grammar School in Hobart. Her mother’s paintings of bush flowers and her sketches of the landscape were an inspiration to Hookey, and ignited her love for art. Hookey studied painting with Edward Officer as well as A.H. Fullwood when he visited Tasmania in 1897 and 1899. In 1902 she attended the Hobart Technical College and was taught by Benjamin Sheppard. She also took part in sketching camps run by Lucien Dechaineux. Hookey studied woodcarving at the Hobart Technical College from 1913-1916. She was also already showing an interest in photography.
Hookey joined the Art Society of Tasmania in 1893, where she eventually held the position vice president. Hookey was also a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania. She was commended for her oil and watercolour paintings, as well as for her drawings, which she exhibited across Tasmania, in Sydney (at the Society of Women Painters), as well as in Europe, participating in the Old Salon in Paris, 1928, and the British Empire exhibition in Wembley, 1924.
Hookey also wrote poetry, with published collections including and . Hookey was the first woman journalist in Tasmania, writing for , , and . She became a subeditor of the .
Hookey had an adventurous spirit. She enjoyed bushwalking, and travelled around Tasmania, Maria Island, Sydney, Queensland, and the Pacific Islands. At around the turn of the century she travelled further afield, visiting North Africa and Palestine, England, France, China and Japan.
Her photographs include shots of her family and friends, but also document her travels. The photographs depict people set within a landscape, framed in order to draw the viewer into the scene. The compositions are formal in nature; however, her photograph of two women swimming naked in Tasmania broke with the conventions of the time. Hookey did not exhibit any of her photographs.
Mabel Hookey died on 13 June 1953, aged 82, at St John’s Park, in Hobart.