(Australia 29 Jul 1881–15 May 1967)
24.5 x 36.4cm platemark; 32.9 x 45.5cm sheet (irreg.)
Jessie Traill’s Building the Harbour Bridge series is her most significant achievement as an artist, and a remarkable record of what was then the largest and most ambitious engineering project in Australian history.
Traill travelled from Melbourne to Sydney regularly between 1927 and 1932 to document the progress of the workers in
drawings and watercolours, leading to this six-etching series and two aquatints of the bridge. She was given special access to the
top deck to observe the workers, and felt herself an intrinsic part of the great national project. She wrote in 1929:
What we see is a solid mass of concrete and intricate lacework of iron made more intricate by the play of light and shade;
something that giants might play with as a child would with his Meccano set… In years to come when we dash over the Bridge
in our taxi or take a “walk” across (which will be about a mile) to see our Harbour, we, who have watched it progress and sketched
or photographed its parts, will feel with these workmen a sort of pride of possession, and it will be OUR BRIDGE too.
Anne Ryan (Australia) (Author), Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Domain, 2007, 47, 47 (colour illus.). cat.no. 65
Caroline Mackaness (Australia) (Author), Bridging Sydney, Sydney, 2006, 165 (colour illus.).
John Slater (England) (Author), Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, Melbourne, 2004, 59, 60 (illus.), 63. illus.no. 42
Jane Hylton (b.1950) (Author), Modern Australian women: paintings & prints 1925-1945, Adelaide, 2000, 24 (colour illus.), 127. titled 'Building the Harbour Bridge No. I'; Collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia
Metropolis 1999, 1999. Exhibition guide, brochure format.
Kay Vernon (Author), Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Sydney, 1990. cat.no. 37
Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 13 Jan 1990–11 Mar 1990.
Metropolis, Museum of Sydney, 18 Dec 1999–02 Apr 2000.
Bridging Sydney, Museum of Sydney, 16 Dec 2006–29 Apr 2007.