This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Harold Brocklebank Herbert, artist and designer

It appears that the designer of the MMTB Roll of Honour was a young artist of growing reputation, who became well-known as a water-colourist and draughtsman.  In 1922 he toured abroad, including the Middle East, and his art shows were well-patronised.  In 1941 he was appointed as a War Artist to accompany troops to the Middle East. The illustration above dates from that appointment, and was included in the book Active Service: with Australia in the Middle East. He returned after a few months saying that he felt younger artists would be more suitable.  He had struggled in the hot temperatures with the heat drying out his water-colours too quickly.  Herbert died in 1945 aged only 52 "after a long illness", so one might surmise that he had been unwell during his time with the 2nd AIF.


  1. Fascinating - I wonder if there are any other known rolls that he designed.We have a particular sort of roll at Maffra called "Opulus sectile", which is mosaic - must post about them some time. We have never seen them elsewhere, outside churches.

  2. I wish you would. A Moonee Ponds Church, St Thomas' Anglican, has an unusual tiled memorial, but not mosaic. The names are inscribed on the tiles, fired and glazed, and the whole put together in a wooden frame. It is very beautiful and I am hopeful of finding out who the artist was there.

  3. I have put a brief post up at

    with photos. While I cannot name the designer, it may also be by Chambers and Cluten. The frames however, in this case are brass or bronze, not wooden. They are far too heavy for wooden frames.

  4. Ooooops - correct term, in the first post, I think should have been "Opus Seculi". But my Latin was never that good.