Posted on

Costume Play at The Principality of Wy

Is there a smaller size of T shirt ?

Distinguished guests, young and old, many wearing imaginative costumes gathered at the principality in November to commemorate the anniversary of the sixth year of Secession. The weather which had been universally inclement throughout the Sydney basin,  was perfect.  Wy weather is generally balmy because the principality is sheltered on all sides by natural hilly wind- breaks, creating a gorgeous  oasis by the harbour where bananas, avocadoes, figs, citrus fruits, and latterly roses, all luxuriate.

How rabbits smile

From end to end the principality was alive with laughter. The young people came up from partying in The Gully of Wy and on the beach to join the older guests to hear The Prince deliver his ‘State of The Principality’ speech.

Several Roving Cultural Emissaries, recently returned from foreign parts, kindly reported on artistic developments overseas.  

As is customary, awards were made for poetry, oratory, singing and culinary invention.  Cosplay awards were made for the fantastic attire of many of the guests. (See Principality of Wy promotes world peace – Serene Blog – Court Circular)

In another ceremony the installation of the 1960 iconic self portrait of the Prince painted 50 years ago at the age of eighteen, was celebrated, following its splendid gilt reframing. 


Posted on

John Olsen opens Max Miller Exhibition in Sydney

Max Miller and John Olsen reminisce

Art Atrium Gallery in  Sydney is the venue for the latest exhibition by Australian artist, Max Miller.  Max was my contemporary at the Julian Ashton Art school in Sydney, where we both worked under the watchful eye of Henry Cornwallis Gibbons. This was an occasion  to reminisce about old friends and adventures we had shared in Sydney and the bush.

John Olsen also had fond memories of the school having earlier been a student of “Gibby”, as we affectionately called him.  Max had printed many etching editions for John over the years at his Kangaloon studio and the two enjoy a long friendship and mutual regard.

John  offered to open Max’s show, which was tribute indeed when one considers the many requests the great artist receives and declines. Max searches for the spirituality of nature. His prodigious drawing talent permits him to move with ease from lyrical abstraction to the close observation of natural things, which he renders with searching analysis. He is an inveterate bushman and is never happier than when he is enjoying a solitary ramble, in all seasons, in the wild hinterland of Australia.

In his affectionate speech John Olsen observed that Max is a passionate master who paints the small things that the hurrying world passes by.  Max,  who could be embarrassingly modest about his achievements, had created work that was highly estimable and full of integrity.- Paul Delprat

Art Atrium Gallery located at  181 Old South Head Road, Bondi Junction in  Sydney.  See

Posted on

Prince of Wy judges Rolls Royce Concourse

 On the 17th of October 2010 at 11 o’clock, the esteemed president of the Rolls Royce Owners Club of Australia,  New South Wales Branch, called at the Principality of Wy.  The Prince and Princess of Wy boarded his magnificent red Rolls Royce and were transported,  or rather – they proceeded, to inspect the Concourse of the Rolls Royce Owners Club,  which was to be held at the northern end of beautiful Balmoral Beach where cars were assembling for the occasion.    The journey in state through the crowded streets of Mosman provided obvious pleasure to those enjoying perfect weather as they paraded or relaxed over coffee before they made their way to the beach.

The display was truly “A Regency of Rollers.”   All were beautiful examples of British engineering and coachwork. The prime purpose of the club is to support the  ownership and restoration of these motor cars which have been produced by the Rolls Royce and Bentley companies over the years. 

Paul and Princess Susan  strolled among the parked vehicles, chatting to the owners, for whom Rolls ownership is a passion.  The members come from many backgrounds and share a rare camaraderie.  Judging was very difficult.

The criteria that Paul was given was: “Which of the cars would the prince most like to have in his mews?” Alas, no mews is bad news.  -Well of course everybody knows that The Principality of Wy currently does not have a mews.  However we are hoping that this drastic situation will be remedied by worthy Mosman Council in due course.

The Prince and  Princess would have been pleased to have any of these well cared for vehicles in their mews and this information rendered by the Prince in his presentation speech was well received by the owners. 

Marginally more “mews worthy” vehicles were presented with  special awards. Principality of Wy protective Aprons were also awarded.  It is to be remembered that many Rolls and Bentley owners are happy to lift the bonnet with a spanner in hand.   

Paul wrote a special poem for the occasion dedicated to the Rolls Royce owners.

 Jo Sykes * who sculpted “Eleanor”,  to guide the wheels of your Rolls Royce, 

Knew, the Goddess that admirers saw,  would cause each driver to rejoice.

 Eleanor has heard fine toasts,  to her beauty in the great outdoors,

She graces Wraiths and Silver Ghosts  and Dawns and Clouds and Phantom Fours.

 To The Principality of Wy, Our Eleanor glides, riding high,

Above the trials of life’s hubbub, via The Noble Rolls Royce Owners Club.

Paul of Wy   September 17 2010

(*Jo Sykes was the English Sculptor who created the flying lady who graces the bonnets of this noble marque)


Posted on

At The British Consulate

Sydney based literary societies at the British Consulate in Sydney

On the evening of Friday 8th October 2010 a gathering of Sydney based  English language  literary societies was hosted by the British Consul General,  Richard Morris (pictured left) at The British Consulate in Sydney.  They included;  The Dylan Thomas, Kipling, Jane Austin, Shakespeare, Conan Doyle (The Sydney Passengers),  Bronte,  D.H Lawrence,  Dickens, and Trollope Societies. 

Paul is a member of both the D H Lawrence Society and the Dylan Thomas Society and he was very interesting to learn of the extensive activities of the other Australian groups dedicated to giants of English literature.  Paul has created paintings relating to D H Lawrence and Anthony Trollope who both visited Australia and wrote extensively on their experiences  in the antipodes.

Posted on

One hundred years ago at Singleton Showground …..

 Fay Gray, a charming and dedicated Steward of the Singleton Show discovered in the local archives that one Julian Rossi Ashton had judged The Singleton Show in September 1910 –    one hundred years ago.  Excitedly, she contacted me, asking if I could come up and fulfil the art judge’s role this year. Of course, I said yes.

The tranquil town of Singleton is about 100 kilometres from Sydney, inland from Newcastle in the Hunter River basin  The judging was held on Saturday the 18th September 2010 in the same corrugated iron vaulted building in The Singleton Showground  in which Julian Ashton had fulfilled his duties all those years ago. In the well lit interior, decorated plentifully with the original wooden lattice and soaring corniced columns, I was delighted to find an impressive array of artworks from the region.

The decisions  were difficult and there were lots of works to be highly commended.  It was rumoured that Julian Ashton was asked to judge the wood chopping too but I think it most likely that he confined himself to the art and perhaps the crafts.  How do you judge children’s art?  Their work is all so marvellous. Well you can’t leave it to the mothers.   I guess that is why the organisers ask someone from out of town.

 Thank you,  thank you Singleton, and the Northern Agricultural Association.    I enjoyed every minute of it.


Posted on

William Dobell, an artist’s life

William Dobell,    An artist’s Life

Elizabeth Donaldson has written a book that brings this fine artist to life.  It is produced  by Exisle Publishing, directed in Australia by Anouska Jones.

 Having for many years had an association with his house at Wangi in New South Wales and feeling that the full story of the life of Sir William Dobell had not been told, Elizabeth has produced an excellent biography that is profusely illustrated with photographs and images of the master’s work.  Artists are, in my experience, invariably people of place and the humble cottage at Wangi built by the artist’s father was to be his home and base for his adventures and inspiration throughout the latter part of his life.  

I visited him there on several occasions when I was a student at his old school, The Sydney Art School, where he had studied with Julian Rossi Ashton and Henry Cornwallis Gibbons.  He was pleased to reminisce about his student days and spoke fondly of Julian Ashton, who had acquired one of his first paintings.  One of his fellow students at the school at that time was Joshua Smith, the subject of the famously  contested Archibald Prize in 1942.

This informative book has been a labour of love for the author, staunchly supported by her husband Robert and it was my privilege to be invited to launch the book at the Newcastle Art Gallery on Friday 24th September  2010.

This book is a “must collect” for every Australian art library.


Posted on

Why Wy?


Artistic origins of The Principality of Wy

Vanity , vanity, All is vanity.

It is a question for reflection

I have been drawing since I was a child.  I didn’t know that what I was doing was drawing. It was just something I did.  Most artists start that way.  Here is a pencil self portrait made when I was about 16.

Why Wy? you ask?   The artistic “Principality of Wy” commenced with a long look in a cracked shaving mirror in 1959.  A tiny painting of a slender 17 year old,( illustrated below), was the result, rendered on a ceder panel.  It was painted in my second last last year at Sydney Grammar School.  The following year, influenced I suppose by the self portraits of Rembrandt,  I dressed up as “ The Prince” and experimented, battling with the oil paint, to make this picture work.   I lived then, as I do now, by Wy ar gine Point, in Sydney Harbour which was my playground as a child.

This was the first major ”Wy” painting to be entitled “The Prince of Wy”  and was completed in 1960.  A year later I started at the Julian Ashton Art School as a night student of the great art teacher, Henry Cornwallis  Gibbons.

The self portrait has many guises , whether it is on the majestic scale of Shakespeare’s complex autobiographical character “Prospero” in “The Tempest” or Rembrandt’s theatrical tableau’s involving himself decked in elaborate costumes as an eastern potentate or a Dutch/Greek God – or an equivalent in music:  Beethoven’s passionate opera “Fidelio”.

It is the cry for help of Vincent Van Gogh. Michelangelo carved himself as a slave emeging from the marble. Leonardo Da Vinci drew himself as inscrutable, as the bearded sage. In Australia George Washington Lambert saw himself as a very superior gentleman with not a trace of humour whereas William Dobell. an equally fine draughtsman showed himself disarmingly whimsical and casual.

Prince of Wy aged eighteen in 1960

Prince of Wy aged eighteen in 1960

In my grandfather’s library was an art book illustrating the work of Anthony Van Dyck.  I remember being impressed, when I was very young, by the palpable energy reflected in the self portraits of the highly strung  Dutch Master.

The artist is grounded by his self portrait.   This fine fellow in front of you will never let you down.   He understands.  But who is this strange person in the mirror today?   Is it me?   Have we been introduced?   Who is “me” anyhow?   This “me” changes all the time.   Given fluency of technique in any one of the arts and the time to indulge in a little soul searching, this is a lifelong journey of surprises that any creative spirit can make.

It is not a good idea to try to go back to rework on a old self portrait.  The subject is no longer there.  You have  grown and changed.   See – this face is making expressions.  A smile a frown – but who is it there?   It is a riddle that is only explained by doing it.

It would be wrong to tell the artist creating a self portrait that he is -“infatuated with himself”,  The reality is that, “This time, it is the real thing”

My own early attempts at the genre were variously self entertainment or soul searching.   Costume or catharsis, sometimes both.  The model has left or didn’t arrive.  It may be five finger exercises,  waiting for the arrival of the portrait sitter.  A dawdling brush, a nearby mirror.

It might have been the effect of love  –  Has anyone else ever felt like this?

A painting is like a worm hole in space/time. Scientists have postulated that this is the way the time traveller may enter another time scale.  Every painting is a worm hole for the artist who created it, especially the self portrait.

Ah yes!   You are entering this other painting from your youth now and what is it that you were thinking?.   You called it – “The Sorrows of Young Werther” from a poem by Goethe.    The picture says it all.

Enough about self portraits.  The actor, Charles Laughton portrays Rembrandt in a  black and white motion picture portraying the life of the Dutch Master.  In the last scene Laughton, who has been entertained by one of his flamboyant students who has been showing off to some pretty girls, turns to the camera and adopts a pose reminiscent of his late self portraits. He looks quizzically  into the lens as the final scene closes and says, “Ah,  Vanity, Vanity ………  All is Vanity”.



The Serene half century in 2010


The Serene half century in 2010

The iconic 1960 self portrait by Paul as The Prince of Wy is the first creation in the continuing journey of The Principality of Wy and reflects a unique provenance in Micro national History in Australia.

The Artists’ Principality is celebrating, in 2010, its fiftieth year.

Members of The Court of Wy and The Serene Family have great pride in Formally Commemorating this Anniversary.

The Prince modestly accepted the Serene Toast and thanked all those present and around the world who believe that both courage and humour were the way forward and that all disputes between nations large and small should be solved with art competitions.   Equerry

Ex Municipalis Vincit

Posted on

The Big Magnifying Glass of Wy

This, is a Lens

A sense of frustration and mystification was the cause of the creation of The Big Magnifying Glass of Wy by Prince Paul. 

 How could these bureaucratic errors keep happening?  Just when he felt that the family were about to achieve the legitimate goal of access to their home another obstacle appeared in their path.

He half jokingly speculated . “What we need is a very big magnifying glass to keep a close eye on council.  To identify mistakes.”  

He knew that there was a wide distribution around Australia of “Big” things like the “Big Banana” and the “Big Sheep” or rather the “Big Ram” which he  had visited and parked his car behind,  a location that had provided a salutary and monumental view.  

So he embarked on the construction of the Big Magnifying Glass of Wy.   A shiny chromium steel table leg provided an excellent handle and an aluminium boat hatch rim provided the lens holder.  All the elements were joined together and “Hey Presto.”   The Big Magnifying Glass of  The Principality of Wy was created.


The Equerries were most impressed and photographed Prince Paul, not in a Sherlock Holmes style Deerstalker Hat, but in the Summer Crown of Wy, which has a wide brim to shelter the Prince from the harmful  rays of the Australian sun.  The Equerries have done considerable research and concur that this is the first crown of its type in the world and believe it should receive endorsement from the Cancer Council.  

 The Prince however finds it a little top heavy and inclined to fall off. 

Paul has a collection of Travelling Crowns which can be slipped into his breast pocket, rather like a bulky folded handkerchief.  He prefers these foldaway crowns for day to day use should a little impromptu  formality be required as he goes about his duties around The Principality.  

A serious game of chess or billiards may require a little bit of dressing up.  The Prince is quite relaxed about formality. He was asked in his city club, by the Secretary, at the time of secession, how he would like to be addressed by the stewards.  Prince Paul, ever the egalitarian, insisted that there be no fuss.  The secretary tentatively enquired whether ”Prince Mate” would be alright.    The Equerries though that this was a trifle presumptive.   

The couturier in the Prince expresses itself effortlessly in garments of grace and practicality. The Prince is inclined to favour coolness in both the costume of ladies and gentlemen and suggests that the classical toga could be on the horizon, at least for beachside suburbs.

Equerries have noticed that around Mosman, fashion leading matrons and in some cases their daughters have been favouring garments with a distinct Wy flavour.  

Because the Prince prefers flowing garments there is a certain non sexist androgynous style in his creations which is appreciated by those for whom intellectual passion is the prerequisite desired catalyst for romantic engagement.


The elegant Principality of Wy T shirt, an economical, yet priceless,  fashion statement  which bears a signed self portrait of Prince Paul, is very popular with both ladies and gentleman, when it is available.

WyT, 1 – T Shirt of the Principality of Wy

WyT, 1 – T Shirt of the Principality of Wy

Created in pure cotton it comes in all sizes, especially XL and 3XL.   Artists in The Principality have been known to use use the larger sizes as practical painting smocks.   

This is where they put the U into Unique

Equerries inform that, regrettably, due to demand, the above tantalising creations are currently unavailable. Should you wish to be placed on the waiting list please send an email entitled “Serene Wy T” via The Equerry.