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Australian art

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Ball's Head, Sydney Harbour



Lloyd Rees


17 Mar 1895 - 02 Dec 1988


Lloyd Rees valued drawing highly and it was an integral part of his oeuvre. Indeed, through the 1930s it was almost his exclusive focus. In 1931 he moved to McMahons Point, on the north shore of the Harbour, where he made many drawings of views towards Circular Quay, Balmain, Goat Island and Ball’s Head.

'The full measure of my highly detailed drawings of Sydney Harbour were done at McMahon’s Point. It was drawing purely for the sake of drawing, for by now, I was well out of the swim of the art world ….Drawing was simply an obsession and I was completely absorbed in the discovery of form and composition. The drawings were by no means naturalistic in the sense of simply selecting a subject and drawing it, for there were things brought in and things left out. They were highly worked and I had an intense interest in the manipulation of them. I drew in the morning and then took the work home and looked at it in the afternoon and if I saw anything superfluous, I rubbed it out.' Lloyd Rees 1985


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used



20.3 x 25 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., "Lloyd Rees 1931"


Purchased 1931


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Lloyd Rees

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 11 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, (Lloyd Rees), Sydney, 1942.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Lloyd Rees Retrospective, ‘List of works: drawings’, pp 11-16, Sydney, 1969, 33. 123

Jane de Teliga, Australian images: Prints, drawings and watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1979, 8.

Renée Free, Lloyd Rees, ‘Part III: Sydney: 1917-42’, pp 23-50, Melbourne, 1972, 41 (illus.), 42, 120. D112

Lou Klepac, Affinities: Brett Whiteley & Lloyd Rees, 'Introduction', pp 2-4, Sydney, 2001, 8.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, ‘Celebrating Lloyd Rees: a book and show on the Gallery’s collection of his work’, pg. 21-23, Sydney, Mar 2013, 23.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees Drawings - Centenary Retrospective, 'Introduction', pp 7-19, Sydney, 1995, 11, 16, 43 (illus.). 41

Sydney Ure Smith, Art in Australia [series 3, no. 42], ‘Pencil drawings by Lloyd Rees’, Sydney, Feb 1932, 57. 15

The Brett Whiteley Studio (Editor), Big blue: the painted harbour (list of works), Sydney, 1997.

Kay Vernon, Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Sydney, 1990. 94

Roland Wakelin, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'The artistic development of Lloyd Rees', pp 490-492, Sydney, Oct 1969, 496 (illus.). 'Lloyd Rees special number'