George James Coats
George James Coats

George James Coats

Born: 1869
Died: 1930

George James Coates (1869-1930), artist, was born on 9 August 1869 at Emerald Hill, Melbourne, son of John Coates, bookbinder, and his Irish-born wife Elizabeth, née Irwin. He attended St James's Grammar School and at 15 was apprenticed to the stained-glass firm, Ferguson and Urie. He first studied art under W. Dellit at the North Melbourne School of Design before attending evening drawing classes under F. McCubbin at the National Gallery School. He soon became one of the school's best draughtsmen. His father had died when George was 8 and, unhappy at home with his stepfather, he shared various studios in the city, living for a time with Lionel Lindsay and Hugh McLean in Elizabeth Street. Coates ran a drawing class in his Swanston Street studio where the students included Max Meldrum, Norman and Percy Lindsay, and George Bell. A fine swimmer and amateur boxer, he was dubbed 'king' of the bohemian student group, the 'Prehistoric Order of Cannibals'.