Wills Family Portrait, courtesy of Norman Charles Wills. Norman Louis Wills and Ethel Marie Wills (nee Hoghton) with sons Norman Charles Wills and youngest son Noel Kevin Wills.
Wills Family Portrait, courtesy of Norman Charles Wills. Norman Louis Wills and Ethel Marie Wills (nee Hoghton) with sons Norman Charles Wills and youngest son Noel Kevin Wills. Contributed

N.L. Wills identity solved but questions remaining

THE identity of a mystery artist with hundreds of pieces of work, many of which are on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum, has been solved.

However, intrigue still remains on how the paintings of Norman Louis Wills made their way to Gladstone after sitting in the Gallery's storage area for more than 20 years.

It is clear Wills had a fascination with military vessels, especially warships and planes judging by the subject matter of his paintings.

One Man's Passion: The N.L. Wills Collection is now on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 13.
One Man's Passion: The N.L. Wills Collection is now on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 13. Matt Harris

Local historian and Observer columnist Paulette Flint did some extensive digging on who exactly N.L. Wills was, as have GRAGM, who have been able to find further information about the mystery artist.

"I have proved that the artist is Norman Louis Wills who was born in Victoria to Norman Reginald Farquahar Wills and Alice Sarah Convery," Ms Flint said.

"I found him in the World War II Nominal Roll and he was enlisted in the 2/3 Anti Aircraft Regiment.

"The two coloured insignia in the right corner of each painting (pictured below) is the insignia of this regiment.

"The VX refers to his Service Number which was VX79621."

 

One Man's Passion: The N.L. Wills Collection is now on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 13.
One Man's Passion: The N.L. Wills Collection is now on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 13. Matt Harris

Born in Elsternwick, Victoria on May 8, 1912, Wills served in the Australian Army, enlisting on May 8, 1942. He was discharged on January 4, 1946 at the rank of Lance Bombardier.

GRAGM public programs and promotions officer Madeleine Cook said it was still unknown how so many of his works ended up at the gallery.

"After speaking with the family it is believed he donated many of his works to RSL clubs around the country and gave away many others as gifts," she said.

Ms Cook confirmed the 'WP' in his paintings stood for Brisbane suburb Wellington Point, his place of residence while painting those pictures.

One Man's Passion: The N.L. Wills Collection is now on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 13.
One Man's Passion: The N.L. Wills Collection is now on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 13. Matt Harris

Wills died in Wellington Point on March 13, 1991.

The Observer will continue to work with the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum to uncover further information about N.L. Wills.



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