Monday, October 31, 2016

1916 New Vasco cache

A new Vasco cache just discovered at the State Library of Queensland. Seems to have been centred around the Toowong Bowling Club in 1916. Attached portrait is 'Dibs', possibly HJC Diddams, twice Mayor of Brisbane. Would love to know where this collection was once hung and how it got to the SLQ.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Brightlingsea Anzac Centenary

Wonderful to see new information still being found about Vasco.
See the entry, and comments, for 27 Feb 2016 on Brightlingsea Museum's Facebook page. The subject of Vasco's '12 inches' caricature is revealed.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Brightlingsea Anzac Memorial Weekend

On 16-19 June there will be a commemorative Anzac Weekend at Brightlingsea Essex, UK, site of the AIF's Engineering Training Depot during World War I

Saturday, January 26, 2013

1909, Princess Victoria and the Triangle Route

Canadian Pacific Rail's Princess Victoria in Victoria Harbour, BC
Vasco arrived in Victoria, British Columbia in mid-1909. He immediately hit upon a scheme to travel CPRs ferries on a triangle route between Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver. In the period 1909-1913 he made a reasonable living sketching passengers during summer. In winter he seems to have travelled elsewhere, certainly California but perhaps also eastern Canada. Vasco and his modus operandi were described at some length in an article in a Vancouver newspaper in 1909. He seems to have been adept at getting publicity, which also suggests that CPR were fine with what he was doing. (He kept the clipping and the story is dated 'Victoria, July 30' but the name of the paper and the actual date on which the story appeared is uncertain.)   

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1907, To England on the SS Medic

The White Star Liner SS Medic
Vasco's travels took him on a number of major sea journeys:
1907      SS Medic          Melbourne to England via Capetown
1907      SS Cedric         Liverpool (UK) to New York
1909      SS Peru            Ancon (Panama) to San Franciso via Mexican ports
1913      RMS Makura    Vancouver to Sydney via Hawaii
1916-17 SS Suevic         Sydney to England via Capetown with 11th Field Company, 1st AIF
On each of these voyages he drew many of the passengers.
Some of these drawings, with their distinctive VASCO singature, and possibly a date and reference to the ship are likely to have survived amongst souvenirs from the journey.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1918 Ancre Valley, the Western Front

The 11th Field Company's (RAE 1st AIF) diary includes a watercolour sketch of the Ancre Valley done by Vasco. It was done from a position on the Morlancourt Ridge, between the Somme and the Ancre Rivers, close to where the Red Baron was shot down. Vasco's 1918 panorama, from what was already a war cemetery on the left to Heilly village on the right, appears largely unchanged in a  contemporary panorama photo taken from an approximate location.

1908-1909 The Culbera Cut, Panama Canal

In 1908-1909 Vasco was in Panama while the Panama Canal was being constructed. He earnt a living by doing caricatures. He was also obviously curious about the construction of the canal and the people involved. The above drawing shows a labourer in the Culbera Cut.

Friday, December 14, 2012

1917 'British Australasian', London

Sapper Vasco's arrival in England is reported in the British Australasian, 1917. The image shows Vasco sketching fellow soldiers on the troopship Suevic, en route to Britain in 1916.
The British Australasian was an interesting institution in late 19th and early 20th century London. It reported on the comings and goings of Australians and New Zealanders in the Britain and kept them up to date with events back in the colonies. Its reports were often picked up by papers back in Australia. The British Australasian's offices in High Holborn also functioned as a post office and general agency for colonials away from home, a service provided for later generations of Australians by various state offices.
Vasco got notices in the British Australasian in both 1907 and 1917. There are some interesting connections behind this. As a child in the Melbourne suburb of Kew, Vasco's neighbour was Maurice Brodzky who was editor of the influential paper Table Talk. Brodzky's son Horace was encouraged in his early artistic endeavours by Vasco's father, Arthur Loureiro, and Horace went on to establish an international reputation as an artist. Forced out of journalism in Melbourne as a result of his exposures of the corrupt land-boomers of the 1880s, Maurice Brodzky later found work on a number of San Francisco newspapers. Another son, Leon Brodzky (aka Leon or Spencer Brodney), was for some time an editor of the British Australasian and later worked in the US.
With newspaper publicity, Vasco had good modelling. His father's name featured regularly in Melbourne publications, especially Table Talk. His mother, Marie Therese Loureiro, was art critic for the Melbourne Age. Even as an itinerant street artist Vasco managed to get notices in papers such as the San Francisco Call and the British Australasian.       

Thursday, December 13, 2012

1913 Victoria, BC, Canada

Bedford Regency Hotel, Victoria, Canada
formerly the Hibben-Bone Building

Newspaper report from
The Week  12 April, 1913
(Victoria, BC, Canada)

I see that my old friend Vasco de Gama Loureiro Peacherino is in town again. I regard him as one of the mysteries of the age. He has the facility of disappearing and reappearing. With him it is a case of 'now you see him and now you don't'. I begin to wonder where he spends his spare time. I know that in the summer months he may generally be found on one of the 'Empresses' in the Sound or in the Straits, sketching profiles. I know that in the winter he is supposed to go south, which means to Australia. But this winter he must have broken his rule, because he was in Victoria with the 'Vigilantes' or the 'Versatiles' or the 'Elks', or whatever they call themselves. Last week end he attracted the usual crowd by sketching the 'Elks' Antics' in Hibbens' windows; but when the 'Antics' were over he disappeared again, and now I haven't the least idea where he is. However, I am quite sure that he will bob up again serenely. He will be sketching, and he will be wearing the soft cap and long silk flowing tie, without which no Bohemian artist considers himself properly dressed.

-       'Vasco de Gama' was a reference to Vasco Loureiro's more famous Portuguese namesake.
-       'Peacherino' seems like local slang of uncertain meaning. It suggests 'cool'.
-       The 'Empresses' were Canadian Pacific Rail's trans-Pacific liners. The ships Vasco worked on in the Sound and Straits are more likely to have been CPR's 'Princesses'.
-       If Vasco 'went south' in the period 1909-1913, it was not to Australia. His most likely destination was California but he may also have travelled to eastern Canada. He returned to Australia in late 1913.
-       The 'Vigilantes', 'Versatiles' or 'Elks' probably refers to a meeting of the Elks, a fraternal lodge.
-       'Hibbens' window' refers to the Hibben-Bone Building. Now the Bedford Regency Hotel, the ground floor windows of this building appear largely unaltered and, in mid-2012, there was a piano. Do people still perform in the window? It was part of Vasco's modus operandi that he would employ again in a tailor's window in High Street Brightlingsea in 1917, a year before his death.

1908 Indy 500 rehearsal

On 5 March 1908 the Palm Beach Daily News (Florida, USA) reported that Vasco was a passenger in a car that raced a train. The driver of the car was an Australian, Rupert Jiffkins (aka Jeffkins). Jiffkins subsequently raced in the first two Indianapolis 500s and is a significant figure in American and Australian motor racing history.