1906 was a quiet year for Geelong Gallery, which was still operating out of the Geelong Free Library, eagerly awaiting a permanent location.
Unfortunately during 1906, Geelong Art Gallery Association President Sidney Austin passed away. Austin was a supporter of Geelong Gallery since its inception, and his death was mourned deeply by the Association. His position was filled by another Geelong Gallery supporter, T.S. Hawkes.
Before he passed, however, Austin and the Geelong Art Gallery Association secured the loan of Sketch of ‘The Last Supper’ by James Thornhill, a reproduction of the famous work by Leonardo Di Vinci. Thornhill’s version depicts the same event, but rearranges small details, such as Christ’s hands and the positions of the twelve disciples.
This small but intriguing work hung for several weeks at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, where it attracted thousands of visitors. The work then arrived in Geelong and attracted around 5200 visitors. Sketch for ‘The Last Supper’ is now housed at the Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut, USA.