Ned Kelly: The Last Stand, Written and Illustrated by an Eyewitness. Paperback book published 2003.
A casual flick through this book about Ned Kelly and what do I find, but this wild and crazy illustration. The editor of the book describes the illustration as “lurid”… and what does this have to do with Ned Kelly? Well very little, what it does have to do with is the “Eyewitness” who was an illustrator and… yes, you guessed it, an eyewitness of many of the events of the Ned Kelly story. His drawing of Ned Kelly at Bay, “is an Australian icon” (from the back cover), although I can’t see any water in the illustration….
You see, this guy, Thomas Carrington, went from Lurid illustrator to Icon drawer in a very short period of time. I guess it pays the bills. I’m writing about this illustration in particular, as despite it’s “luridness” the editor of this book has allowed a full page for its republication. So is this image still “lurid” after all these years? There’s the tight fitting outfit (just one of the women, but the other woman is near the ground… which is possibly meant to be sexy), the near nudity (ok, it’s a little bit of leg), the wild disheveled hair (mostly covered by the hat thingy but clearly there) and the crazy idea of one woman rolling another woman along (maybe there’s a sex thing there that I don’t understand… OOOhhhhhh, I get it… actually I don’t). The truth is that in 2011, this image fails to excite. I think maybe the luridness may have worn out.
So why have I written about this lurid/pornographic illustration… well it seemed like a good idea at the time and I think its great that it’s in a book about Ned Kelly… I’m sure he would have liked it for all its luridness and if he didn’t, well… such is life.