Artist info – Len (Leonard) Annois
Leonard Lloyd (Len) Annois was born on 1 July 1906 at Malvern, Melbourne, son of William Alfred Annois, clerk, and his wife Elsie Miriam, née Lloyd, both Western Australian born. William—whose father had arrived at Fremantle from Portugal in 1864 and set up as a ship-chandler—had moved with his wife to Victoria in 1904. Educated at Melbourne High School, at 17 Len began an engineering career, first with the Melbourne Harbour Trust, next with a civil engineering firm and finally with Malvern City Council. He then became a concrete salesman. On 17 February 1928 at the registrar’s office, Collingwood, he married Mavis Martha Nunn who belonged to the Victorian Potters’ Group.
Losing his job in the Depression, he attended classes at the National Gallery schools under the directorship of Bernard Hall, with W. B. McInnes as drawing-master. In 1935 Annois found employment with G. J. Coles & Co. Ltd and in 1946 was appointed manager of the new advertising department. Throughout these years he continued painting and exhibiting. Having been introduced to water-colour and taught by James Flett to admire the art of Blamire Young, he painted historical scenes, but, after studying the English water-colour school, turned to landscape. He built a home in sparsely inhabited North Balwyn in 1938 and chose as his painting-ground the Yarra Valley, as well as the Pentland Hills which he studied on early excursions to Bacchus Marsh.
In 1942-43 Annois worked as a production illustrator with the Directorate of Armoured Fighting Vehicles and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd. After the war he joined the council of the Victorian Artists Society and engaged in the production of a new magazine, the Australian Artist. He was a foundation member of the committee which established the National Gallery Society of Victoria. In 1950 he made the first of several journeys abroad. In Italy he studied frescoes and brought his skills to Melbourne where he executed murals in fresco secco in such buildings as the Pharmacy College of Victoria, Parkville, St John’s Church of England, Camberwell, and Melbourne High School.
From 1935 Annois had exhibited widely and regularly at the Victorian Artists Society, the New Melbourne Art Club, the Athenaeum gallery and interstate; he held his first one-man show at Tye’s Gallery in Bourke Street in 1941. He was elected associate (1952) and member (1958) of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour, and in 1960 became president of the National Gallery Society of Victoria. He won awards for his water-colours throughout Australia, among them the Wynne prize (1961 and 1964)