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An image of The cockatoo by Margaret Fleming

Margaret Fleming

(Australia  – )

The cockatoo
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

56.5 x 75.2 cm stretcher; 79.0 x 95.0 x 9.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., "M Fleming 1895".
Purchased 1895
Accession number
19th c Australian art
Further information

The Gallery’s Trustees purchased this work in 1895 from the Society of Artists’ inaugural exhibition, along with Emily Meston’s 'Study of grapes'. Both were included in the prestigious Australian art exhibition held at London’s Grafton Galleries in 1898. 'The cockatoo’s' beautifully painted spray of creamy white plumage shows Margaret Fleming’s mastery of contrasting tonal effects, with the bright, feathered body set within a dimly lit interior.

Born in Nowra and schooled briefly in Sydney under Julian Ashton, Fleming achieved a respectable local reputation as a still-life painter, although very little is known about the artist herself.

Bibliography (5)

Joan Kerr (Editor), Heritage: The national women's art book, Sydney, 1995, 12 (colour illus.). 16. Entry by Joan Kerr. Biography by Joan Kerr p350.

Elizabeth Lawson, Birds, Canberra, 1999, 9.

Barry Pearce, Australian Artists, Australian Birds, North Ryde, 1989, 88 (colour illus.). plate no. 71

John Young and Henry Gibbons, The Sydney Art School retrospective exhibition 1890-1933, Sydney, 1933. not paginated, 238

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily telegraph, 'Pictures for the National Gallery', Sydney, 28 Sep 1895, page unknown. From the Art Society Exhibition and priced 7 guineas.

Exhibition history (5)

Society of Artists First Exhibition (1895), York Street Skating Rink, Sydney, 28 Sep 1895–20 Oct 1895

Exhibition of Australian art in London (1898), Grafton Galleries, London, 02 Apr 1898–31 Jul 1898

The Sydney Art School retrospective exhibition, 1890-1933, Vickery's Galleries, Sydney, 01 Mar 1933–28 Mar 1933

Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Mar 1995–04 Jun 1995

A Bird in the Hand, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 01 Mar 1999–30 Jun 1999