Shapely Escorts

Available at: Buderim Art Studio

Detail photos for this Artwork

This stunning pastel by Kate Smith represents a time in her life in the early 1970’s prior to her becoming a well-known artist. Always creative, resilient, and adventurous, Kate has tried her hand at a variety of occupations, including fashion designing, managing a hotel, and developing a passion for greyhound racing.

After arriving in Sydney with her husband from New Zealand in 1970 to start a fashion business, Kate’s plans were thwarted when it was discovered that the fabric she’d ordered for her garments had mistakenly been sent back to Germany and her sewing machine had been damaged aboard their ship.

Their first night in Sydney was at a private hotel. The next morning at breakfast, the hotel’s waitress asked if anyone could help her because the management had just quit. Kate and her husband agreed to assist and by 11am the hotel’s owner offered them the job of running the hotel with free accommodation and meals and a small wage. Kate and her husband, never to shy away from a challenge, began running the hotel.

While they were in Sydney they became seriously interested in greyhound racing, travelling all over country NSW to meetings and even owning a dog that lived with its trainer. One day, on an outing to the Blue Mountains, they called into a Swiss restaurant where there was a wishing well. Kate threw a coin into the well, wishing for enough money to purchase a property in the Blue Mountains. On the way home they stopped off at the Harold Park dog races, bought a trifecta ticket, and won $700 – a very handsome amount in those days!

Flush with funds, Kate and her husband left their jobs at the hotel, heading to Queensland to follow a dream of buying land for a greyhound farm. But life was to take another turn when two weeks later Kate’s son, now a potter, was born and Kate and her husband returned to New Zealand, where in about 1972 Kate went on to become an artist. She returned to Australia in later years and established a very successful art career.

This beautiful pastel “Shapely Escorts” pays homage to Kate’s fascination with greyhounds and one of her favourite dogs during the early 1970’s, the famous and highly successful, Shapely Escort. Shapely Escort won many prestigious races in Australia and was named Greyhound of the Year in 1971.  She raced at 12 different tracks and won on nine of them, reaching the finals of seven major races, winning three and finishing second in two.

Pastel on Paper
64 x 98 cm
102 x 133 cm
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