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Frances Mallalieu (Frank) Payne (1885–1976)

by Angela Philp

This article was published:

Frances Mallalieu (Frank) Payne (1885-1976), artist and illustrator, was born on 7 May 1885 at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, daughter of English-born parents Arthur Peel Payne, shipping clerk, and his wife Julia Finch, née Batchellor. Frank (as she was known) was educated at All Hallows' Convent and Brisbane Technical College where she trained as a portrait painter under Godfrey Rivers and learned etching and block-making. She exhibited with the Queensland Art Society. Accompanied by her mother, she sailed for England in March 1905. In Paris for nine months, she enrolled at the Académie Colarossi, then studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. At 'La Grande Chaumière' she was taught black-and-white work by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen. Back in London, she worked in Frank Brangwyn's studio and did her most serious study there. During the summers she travelled extensively through England (1905), Brittany, France (1906), and elsewhere on the Continent (1907).

For two and a half years Payne had written regular articles for the Brisbane Courier about her experiences. Returning to Brisbane in September 1907, she began freelance design work for the Courier and the Bulletin; she also produced commercial catalogues for Finney Isles & Co.'s department store and illustrations for the Queenslander. The Australasian Union Steam Navigation Co. sent her on cruises so that she could write and illustrate their travel brochures.

By 1916 Payne was living in Sydney. She illustrated catalogues for David Jones Ltd's and Farmer & Co. Ltd's department stores, drew covers for the Australian Woman's Mirror, and drove her own motorcar. At Neutral Bay on 24 August 1921 she married with Presbyterian forms Andrew Patrick Clinton, a 36-year-old superintendent stevedore from Ireland and a divorcee. They had two sons, but separated in 1928. Continuing to be known professionally as Frank Payne (though often referred to as Mrs A. P. Clinton), she supported herself and her children from her catalogues, magazine covers and part-time work for the Bulletin. Reputedly, she was among the nation's highest paid women.

In contact with many prominent women artists, Payne numbered among her friends Jessie Traill, Ethel Carrick Fox> and the writer Dorothea Mackellar. She promoted the careers of young artists such as Daphne Mayo and Lloyd Rees. Payne had joined the Society of Women Painters in 1919, served on the society's committees and council for many years, and, from 1921, contributed to every annual exhibition. Her oils and watercolours were frequently studies of children (including her own) in unposed settings, as well as landscape and genre paintings. Founding president (1934) of the Women's Industrial Arts Society, she was awarded King George VI's coronation medal in 1937.

Payne helped W. M. Hughes in his campaign for the House of Representatives seat of North Sydney in 1946. She continued to paint well into her later years, and held exhibitions at the Morton Galleries, Brisbane, in 1948 and the Grosvenor Galleries, Sydney, in 1952. Survived by her sons, she died on 11 July 1976 at Normanhurst and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Kerr (ed), Heritage (Syd, 1995)
  • Lone Hand, 1 Mar 1916
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 2 Apr 1934, 22 Nov 1948
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 17 June 1952
  • A. Philp, The Sydney Society of Women Painters, 1910-1934 (M.A. thesis, University of Sydney, 1988) and for bibliography.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Angela Philp, 'Payne, Frances Mallalieu (Frank) (1885–1976)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 14 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Clinton, Frances
  • Clinton, A. P.

7 May, 1885
Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


11 July, 1976 (aged 91)
Normanhurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

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