This delicate watercolour is on very thin paper, and was drawn with economy and speed. There are recognisable 'types' in the image, such as the figure of mother and child, to which Fairweather often returned. The intense concentration of the women as they undertake their work presents a calm and meditative scene.
© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004
Nutmeg sifters (Singapore)
pencil, watercolour, gouache on thin cream tissue
38.4 x 24.6 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.l., pencil "I Fairweather". Not dated.
Gift of Tom and Jenny Parramore 1985
Not on display
© Ian Fairweather/DACS. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986
Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s:
The drawings of Ian Fairweather (1997-1998):
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Ink: Whiteley and others (2006), The Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills, 29 Apr 2006–20 Aug 2006
Referenced in 9 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986. cat.no. 75
Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Melbourne and Lina Bryans', pg. 68-83, Sydney, 2009, 69 (colour illus.), 248. plate no. 42; cat.no. 47; titled 'Nutmeg sifters (Singapore)'
Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Manila, Calcutta, Melbourne: "Mood & Moment"', pg. 50- 72., Sydney, 1981, 70 (colour illus.), 234. plate no. 30; cat.no. 55; titled 'Nutmeg Sifters (Singapore)'; Collection Mr T.I. Parramore, Sydney.
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 228 (colour illus.), 300.
Tim Fisher, The drawings of Ian Fairweather, 'The Calcutta Group', pg. 9, Port Melbourne, 1997, 10, 21 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, 'Introduction: Painting in watercolour', pg. 8-16, Sydney, 1995, 13, 62 (colour illus.), 120. cat.no. 51
Barry Pearce, The Weekend Australian, 'Time makes its judgment', pg. 2-3, Sydney, 12 Aug 2000-13 Aug 2000, 2 (colour illus.). This colour supplement is a 'Review Special' published for the 'Weekend Australian'. It consists of a four-page, colour wrap-around for the 'Weekend Australian Review'. 'The Australian' was the media sponsor for the AGNSW Exhibition 'Australian Icons', for the Olympic Arts Festival 2000.
Anne Ryan, Look, 'The Drawings of Ian Fairweather', pg. 14-15, Heidelberg, Dec 1997, 15 (colour illus.).
INK: Whiteley and Others, Sydney, 2006. List of works