Herbert Hepburn Calvert

Herbert Hepburn Calvert


Born on 30 December 1870 at St Pancras, London, Herbert Hepburn Calvert was the oldest of the three sons of Thomas Calvert and his wife Grace (nee Hepburn). In 1882 the family resided in Hornsey, London, but within the next few years they emigrated to New Zealand and after a short stay in that country they relocated to Australia in 1887. By 1894 Calvert lived in the Sydney suburb of Balmain and on 29 February 1904 he married Mary Elsie O’Brien at the New Unitarian Church located at 467 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Calvert painted watercolour studies of Australian bird life, often large scale depictions, and was active from at least 1910 until his death in 1923. The work of his son, Harold Hepburn Calvert (1906-1963), is commonly confused with his due to the similarity in names and styles. Dates and signatures, however, greatly assist in correct identification. Paintings dated 1923 and earlier were usually signed 'H. H. Calvert' and are attributable to the father. Those dated after 1923 are the work of the son and were typically signed 'H. Hep. Calvert' or 'H. Hepburn Calvert'.

H. H. Calvert died on 16 February 1923 from broken ribs and other abdominal injuries sustained as a result of an accident while visiting Adelaide. He was found unconscious at the bottom of a staircase at the hotel in which he was staying and it was presumed that he had fallen. His body was returned to Sydney for burial at the Field of Mars Cemetery in Ryde and he was survived by his wife, Mary and sons Herbert and Harold.

He is represented in the collections of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Biography © Stephen Robertson Marshall. Reproduced with permission.