Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Walter Lacy Jardine (1884–1970)

by Anne-Marie Gaudry

This article was published:

Walter Lacy Jardine (1884-1970), commercial artist, was born on 6 May 1884 at Macdonaldtown, Sydney, tenth (and seventh surviving) child of Alfred Henry Jardine, carter, and his wife Amy Mary, née Lacy, both from London. Educated locally, Walter showed an aptitude for drawing. About the age of 12 he was apprenticed to J. H. Leonard, newspaper artist, and also studied design, colour and drawing at J. S. Watkins's commercial-art classes. He joined the Australian Star as an illustrator and was soon asked to handle advertisements as well. For the next twenty years he worked on and off for the Star (Sun from 1910), achieving widespread recognition for his full-page, black-and-white illustrations.

From 1905 to 1917 he was in partnership with J. B. Jones in an advertising company. About 1908 Jardine visited England, Europe and the United States of America to study methods of advertising and illustration; he paid for the trip by working freelance in the U.S.A. In Sydney, Jones & Jardine (J. & J. Ltd, 1916-17) employed a staff of twenty artists and apprentices. At St Michael's Anglican Church, Rose Bay, on 1 June 1918 Jardine married Mary Kathleen Sylvia Prior, a 27-year-old hairdresser. Attracted by the high fees that American commercial artists could command, Jardine settled in New York in 1923. Almost instantly successful, he illustrated for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Motor and the American Legion Magazine, and drew up advertisements for well-known companies, among them Durant Motors Inc., General Motors Corporation and the Packard Motor Car Co., E. R. Squibb & Sons (toothpaste) and York Manufacturing Co. (refrigerators). His knowledge of typography and layout enabled him to extend his activities to include the design of booklets and campaign posters.

Returning to Sydney in May 1928, Jardine opened a studio in Margaret Street. As a freelance artist he numbered among his clients Stephen Keir (Akubra hats), William Arnott Ltd (biscuits), the Orient Steam Navigation Co., Stamina Clothing Co. (menswear), Toohey Ltd and Tooth & Co. Ltd (beer), the Department of Defence and the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales. Magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, posters and handbills featured his work. About 1933 he published The Art of Walter Jardine. During the 1950s and 1960s he taught by correspondence for the Art Training Institute, Melbourne. In partnership (1945-59) with W. F. Paterson, he formed the company, Walter Jardine Advertising Service (later Jardine, Paterson & Co.).

Jardine's reputation as a leading commercial artist in Australia was based on his dexterity and versatility. He was a master of line and brush work—half-tone, colour, pen-and-ink and dry brush. In retirement he continued to work and, at the age of 80, designed a set of postage stamps commemorating George Bass and Matthew Flinders. 'A somewhat cadaverous, big-nosed, straight-backed man', Jardine had an austere manner and a gentle nature. He enjoyed golf and gardening. Survived by his wife and two daughters, he died on 24 February 1970 at his Killara home and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • G. Caban, A Fine Line (Syd, 1983)
  • Art Student (Melbourne), 1, no 2, 1932
  • Art Training Institute (Melbourne), prospectus, 1950
  • People (Sydney), 13 Aug 1952
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 1928, 26 Oct 1940, 5 Feb 1964.

Citation details

Anne-Marie Gaudry, 'Jardine, Walter Lacy (1884–1970)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 21 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


6 May, 1884
Macdonaldtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


24 February, 1970 (aged 85)
Killara, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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