Ray Crooke was born in Victoria in 1922 and passed away in 2015. Crooke studied art at the Swinburne Technical College in Melbourne. Inspired by Gauguin, he spent most of the post-war years painting among the islands off North Queensland. He is admired for his ability to catch the qualities of the light so characteristic of the tropics. He was appointed an official war artist in Vietnam in 1966.
Crooke won the Archibald Portrait Prize in 1969. His paintings are in major collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, state galleries, many private collections the Vatican Collection Rome.