Christian Waller – Towards the Light


Webinar with Dr Caroline Miley

Born in 1894 to a tradesman father in a provincial gold-mining town in Victoria, Australia, Christian Waller’s rare talent was recognised as a girl. She studied at the National Gallery School and at the British centres of the Arts & Crafts stained glass revival. In 1929 she spent time working with Veronica Whall and at An Túr Gloine. On her return she built a career patronised by architects, attracting more commissions than even her dedicated labour could manage. Her choice of medium, later illness, reclusive tendencies in later life and tragically early death in 1954 contributed to her extraordinary achievement being neglected until recently. Waller was, however, Australia’s sole woman professional stained glass artist until the craft revival of the 1970s and a leading proponent of Modernism in Australian art.

Inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement, Symbolism, the Celtic Revival (via William Butler Yeats and George Russell), and most strongly by Theosophy and Hermetic lore, Waller was intensely spiritual and developed a unique synthesis of Christianity and Theosophy. This permeated her theologically sophisticated art works which parallel those of Piet Mondrian and Hilma af Klint. Although these esoteric influences have been little understood, her work has been universally admired for its mastery of technique, sumptuous colour, brilliant design and originality. She was a fascinating, individual woman of strong personality and wide-ranging imagination who inspired love in those fortunate enough to be her friends.

Dr Caroline Miley has had a lifetime interest in decorative arts, especially stained glass. She was Lecturer in Art History and Theory at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) and Curator of the College Collection. She consults for heritage architects and has published a number of pioneering books on the Arts & Crafts Movement in Australia and related subjects as well as social criticism and literary historical fiction. Her book on Christian Waller is the culmination of many years’ research and a personal interest in the artist and her work.

Join us on Thursday 11th April at 7pm on Zoom for the lecture which is being pre-recorded because of the time difference in Australia. Members pay only £4.25 (£5.00 full price) so book now as tickets are limited. Image: St Matthews, Prahran copyright


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