LEONARD LLOYD ANNOIS (1906-1966), artist, was born on 1 July 1906 at Malvern, Melbourne. Educated at Melbourne High School, at 17 he began an engineering career.
Losing his job in the Depression, he attended classes at the National Gallery schools under Bernard Hall with W. B. McInnes as drawing-master. In 1935 Annois worked for G. J. Coles & Co. Ltd. Introduced to water-colour and taught by James Flett. He admired the art of W Blamire Young
Annois had a fresh perception of the Australian landscape. Characteristic themes in his work are the open, barren hills around Bacchus Marsh, or the border between city and country as he found it in the Yarra Valley from North Balwyn, where he lived, to Templestowe and Heidelberg. The mixture of open country and native bush, interspersed with European trees surrounding the occasional villas, provided the blend of architecture and scenery which he had admired in the towns of Italy and Greece.
Exhibited widely from 1935, including 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).
He was a gourmet, a cricket fan and a bird-lover. He died suddenly at a friend's dinner party at Toorak on 10 July 1966. In 1969 a posthumous exhibition of his water-colours of Central Australia (inspired by a visit made in 1964) was held in Melbourne. Brian Finemore saw in them 'a freedom and breadth of handling, an opulence of colour and a wealth of lyrical intimations' which brought his art to its full flowering. Reviewing the same exhibition, Patrick McCaughey equated Annois's best work with that of the young Fred Williams.
K. Bonython, Modern Australian Painting and Sculpture (Adel, 1960); B. Finemore, foreword in The Central Australian Landscape. Leonard Annois 1906-1966, exhibition catalogue (Melb, 1969); Len Annois A Retrospective Exhibition, exhibition catalogue (Melb, 1974); N. C. Manning and A. J. Cobcroft, Leonard Lloyd Annois (Melb, 1976); Len Annois, 1950-1960, Water Colours, exhibition catalogue (Melb, 1979); R. Haese, Rebels and Precursors (Melb, 1981); A. Sayers, Drawing in Australia (Canb, 1989); M. Rich, Crouch Prize Winners, exhibition catalogue (Ballarat, Vic, 1990); Age (Melbourne), 10 Feb 1962, 11 July 1966, 2 Apr 1969, 1 Nov 1972; Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne), 11 July 1966; Herald (Melbourne), 11 July 1966; Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 1966; Annois file (State Library of Victoria); Croll papers (State Library of Victoria).
Author: Ursula Hoff
Print Publication Details: Ursula Hoff, 'Annois, Leonard Lloyd (Len) (1906 - 1966)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, Melbourne University Press, 1993, pp 60-61.