On seeing “the red hat”, can your feelings be quantified?

william frater the red hatNot to be confused with Boston’s oldest traditional establishments ‘The Red Hat‘,  artist, William Frater gave the same title to this painting.  Frater was born on 29 January, 1890 at Ochiltree Castle, near Linlithgow, Scotland. His father died shortly after, leaving four children to be brought up by an uncle at West Ochiltree Farm.

Frater studied art for a year at Linlithgow Academy prior to his acceptance of a three-year apprenticeship in the Glasgow glass studio of Oscar Patterson; who encouraged him to enrol at the School of Art. Frater won the Haldane Scholarship for drawing in 1906 and remained at the School of Art until 1909.

The following year in September 1910, he migrated to Melbourne, Australia. In his newly adopted country, Frater wished to continue his art, but much to his chagrin, he was refused admission to the National Gallery Society of Art.  He was influenced by fellow artists, Max Meldrum and Paul Cezanne. He secured a position with stained glass company Brooks, Robinson for a few years before he returned to Scotland, returning to Melbourne once more. It was at this time that he married tailoress, Winifred Dow; in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn.

He returned to his original Australian employer, Brooks, Robinson, for whom he worked with for 25 years as a stained glass artist.

  • An example of his stained glass artwork can be seen via the west window of the Wesley Church, in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. This piece is regarded as Frater’s most significant design.
  • His first solo exhibition was held in May 1923 at the Athenaeum, Melbourne, and he exhibited with the Twenty Melbourne Painters from the late 1920s, and the Contemporary Group of Melbourne in the 1930s.
  • In 1974, Frater was appointed an Order of the British Empiew (OBE) for his services to a rt.
  • His work is represented in galleries and private collections throughout Australia as well as the Glasgow Art Gallery.
  • He died at his home at Alphington on 28 November, 1974 and was buried at the Arthur’s Creek cemetery in Victoria.

The Red Hat” (1937); oil is part of the National Gallery of Victoria, collection, in Melbourne.

Interestingly, “The Red Hat” is also part of Edward De Bono’s “The 6 Thinking Hats of Six Sigma“.  In his work, the “Red Hat” deals with feelings, emotions and intuitions.  Often these feelings are based on experience and cannot always be quantified.

I wonder who the model was for “The Red Hat” and what her feelings and emotions were during her sitting, back in 1937!

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