This Beaux-Arts graduate and Paris Communard was exiled from France to New Caledonia, settling in Sydney after his reprieve in 1879. As both teacher and practising designer, Lucien Henry made a vital contribution to the Sydney art scene during two of its most active and experimental decades.
Fascinated by the pictorial possibilities of native flora and fauna – especially the waratah, the floral emblem of New South Wales – Henry produced superlative designs for stained glass, interior décor, architecture and items of applied art. He also created this striking, highly-detailed painting, 'Waratah', with its scarlet bloom set against an intricate turquoise-and-gold geometric Islamic-style pattern. It was exhibited in 1887 at the Eighth Annual Exhibition of the Art Society of NSW.