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Art of Australia

Tue Oct 8, 9-10pm, BBC4

Episode one
Name an Australian visual artist. And no, we’re afraid Rolf Harris doesn’t count. Edmund Capon reckons he’s got enough of them to fill out a three part series on the subject. And even though – at least as far as this opening episode is concerned – the art itself doesn’t startle, the stories are unfamiliar enough to make for a diverting hour.

Unsurprisingly, much early Aussie art is concerned with national foundation myths – and as essentially a massive penal colony, it involved some lively sounding characters including inveterate forger Joseph Lycett. Then followed the likes of romanticist John Glover and the impressionist Heidelberg School. One caveat; native Australians are few and far between in Capon’s study thus far – hopefully their input will be more thoroughly explored as the series progresses.