Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Scott, Eugene Montagu (Monty) (1835–1909)

by Suzanne Edgar

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

Eugene Montagu (Monty) Scott (1835-1909), cartoonist and illustrator, was born in London, son of William Scott, artist, and his wife Sarah, née Myers. He migrated to Victoria in the 1850s and worked as a photographer. On 20 July 1859 in Melbourne he married Amy Johnson. In 1857-65 he contributed drawings and cartoons to the Illustrated Australian Mail, Illustrated Melbourne Post and Melbourne Punch.

In 1866 Scott moved to Sydney as chief cartoonist for the Sydney Punch, producing unexceptional material for it till 1886. In 1867 he received a princely 250 guineas commission for a portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh. He was established in a photographic salon in George Street and in the 1870s his large wood-engravings and lithographs of rugged outdoor scenes, formal functions and public personalities regularly enlivened the Illustrated Sydney News. Many fine lithographs were issued as supplements including a portrait of (Sir) Henry Parkes. At the 1870 Intercolonial Exhibition in Sydney his 7 ft (2.1 m) by 3 ft 6 ins (1.1 m) oil, 'A Day's Picnic on Clark Island', was criticized by the Sydney Morning Herald for its 'grotesque little figures resembling gaudily bedecked marionettes', but when given to the Mitchell Library in 1930 it was praised for its faithful depiction of the fashions of the period.

Bankrupt in June 1870, Scott was forced to sell his photographic equipment to meet his creditors. In 1871 the Sydney Mail employed him as its first artist. In 1872 he had illustrations in two publications: Our Christmas Budget by H. W. H. Stephen and G. Bunster and Punch Staff Papers; in 1877 Sydney Punch ran a fine series of his chromo-lithographs, 'Our Collection of Worthies'. The December 1878 Sydney Punch included Arthur Clint's caricature of 'Monty' in sartorial attire with 'gad sir! air'. Clint and Scott illustrated 'Ironbark's' (G. H. Gibson) Southerly Busters of that year.

From 1880 the Bulletin carried some cartoons and occasional engravings of local dignitaries by Scott. The Brisbane Boomerang, founded 1887, ran his cartoons until 1891 when he drew the first cartoons for the Queensland Worker, continuing as its chief cartoonist until 1909. In 1889 he had moved to Brisbane and on 5 December married a widow, Mary Ellen Price, née Mehan; he lived there four years. His Queensland Worker cartoons were lively and admirably attuned to its optimistic, combative tone; they were being reproduced elsewhere years later. The Worker saw Scott as 'the personification of kindness' but photography eventually replaced his work. He was paid £1 5s. a cartoon but he lived 'from hand to mouth' during his last years, painting portraits and racehorses where he could, selling work to Sydney sporting papers, the Arrow, Referee, Star and Sunday Times and assisted by friends. He had become 'one of the best of the good old sort' and by August 1908, having received no orders for the previous eighteen months, was again bankrupt. On 15 May 1909, aged 74, he died at Randwick of cystitis and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley cemetery, survived by his wife and by two daughters and a son of his first marriage.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Cato, The Story of the Camera in Australia (Melb, 1955)
  • M. H. Mahood, The Loaded Line (Melb, 1973)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Sept 1870, 17 May 1909, 21 Aug 1930
  • Illustrated Sydney News, 18 Feb 1871
  • Worker (Brisbane), 27 June 1891, 20 Feb 1892, 12 Mar 1904, 25 Mar 1905, 1 Feb 1903, 9 Jan, 22 May 1909
  • Arrow (Sydney), 17 Jan, 21 Feb 1903, 20 Feb 1904, 24 Jan 1905
  • Bulletin, 20 May 1909
  • Worker (Sydney), 27 May 1909
  • insolvency file, 10059 (State Records New South Wales).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Suzanne Edgar, 'Scott, Eugene Montagu (Monty) (1835–1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/scott-eugene-montagu-monty-4547/text7453, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 26 November 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

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