One Man's Passion: The N. L. Wills Collection.
One Man's Passion: The N. L. Wills Collection. Gladstone Regional Art Gallery &

Can you help solve the N.L. Wills mystery?

WHO is N.L. Wills?

It's a mystery Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum want to solve after unearthing a portfolio of more than 300 pieces of artwork from the unknown artist.

It is clear the artist had a fascination with military vessels, especially war ships and planes, with some WWI war craft showcased.

However, the exhibition predominately features WWII boats and aircraft. Each painting is documented with the plane or ship name and the period it was in active service.

Mystery surrounds these paintings, drawings and images as the GRAGM knows very little about N. L. Wills or the history behind these works.

GRAGM curator Jo Duke said Wills' work came into the gallery's possession more than 20 years ago.

"This huge collection had been sitting in the GRAGM archives for years and I was always curious to know more," she said.

"We don't how they came to be here there are stories that he passed away and it went to the dump but was saved from there.

"To my knowledge, the works have never been shown here before, in fact, we don't even know when the works were created. Some of them are dated '1990', while others seem to have been created much earlier.

"We have assumed N.L. Wills is a man, but we could be mistaken. We believe he may have been ex-military, due to the subject matter, or possibly even a draftsman, due to the artists' skill.

"He was obviously passionate about nautical things as well as planes and did a lot of research.

"He wanted everything to be correct down to the deck holes and markings on the ships and boats.

"It's the most extraordinary collection, but it's too big for us."

Ms Duke said her team would continue researching in the hope of solving the mystery and reaching N. L. Wills or estate holders.

The Gallery & Museum believe N.L. Wills may have lived in Brisbane at some point in time.

If all else fails GRAGM will look at sending the collection to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra or Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The collection is on display at the Gallery & Museum until May 13.

Please contact GRAGM on 4976 6766 or The Observer if you can help solve the mystery.

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