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Australian art

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I lived at Berowra



Margaret Preston

Australia, England, France

29 Apr 1875 - 28 May 1963


In 1936, Margaret Preston moved with her husband to a new home at Berowra to live in a house surrounded by bushland a couple of kilometres from the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney. 'I lived at Berowra' is among a number of works, including 'The brown pot' and 'Grey day in the ranges' that were painted within a three year period. They are characterized by a simplification of form, flattened perspectives and a reduced palette of earth-toned colours reminiscent of natural ochres found in the landscape, a visual expression of Preston's increasing interest in Aboriginal art.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000


Other Title


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


46.4 x 39.7 cm stretcher; 56.5 x 56.4 x 8.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l., pencil "M".
Signed and dated bot.c., pencil "M. Preston 1941".


Purchased 1941


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Margaret Preston

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 14 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 27 publications


Aboriginal art', Look, 'Preston's Aboriginal inspiration: how Margaret Preston was influenced, pg. 16-17, Melbourne, Sep 2001, 17.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 15.

Elizabeth Butel, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 57 (colour illus.), 86. O.15

Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 2005, 27.

Joanna Capon, Yin-yang : China in Australia, 'The influence of China on Australian art', pg. 47-55, Sydney, 2008, 54.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Curator), dOCUMENTA (13): the book of books, 'Participants, biographies, and exhibited objects and works', pg. 674-725, Ostfildern, 2012, 712.

Dennis Colsey and Hal Missingham, One hundred years of Australian landscape painting: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1968, Sydney, 1968, 18, 19 (illus.). 20

Deborah Edwards, Art Monthly Australia, 'Margaret Preston: reviewing the landscape', pg. 19-23, Canberra, Dec 2002-Feb 2003, 19 (colour illus.), 20-21.

Deborah Edwards, Australian Collection Focus: Margaret Preston The brown pot 1940, I lived at Berowra 1941, Grey day in the ranges 1942, 'An art for Australian, from Australians', pg. 3-9, Sydney, 2002, front cover (colour illus., detail), 4, 5 (colour illus.), 7-9, 13, 15-16.

Deborah Edwards, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Landscapes of modernity 1920s-40s', pg. 216-235, Sydney, 2013, 222, 229 (colour illus.), 315, 323.

Deborah Edwards, Margaret Preston, ‘An art for Australia from Australians 1940s-1950s', pg.173-250, Sydney, 2005, 188, 189 (colour illus.), 190, 202, 240, 284.

Deborah Edwards and Rose Peel, Margaret Preston: Catalogue raisonné of paintings, monotypes and ceramics, Sydney, 2005, (colour illus.). Artworks: paintings 1941.

Peter Emmett, Sydney: metropolis, suburb, harbour, 'Suburb', pg. 71-72, Glebe, 2000, 99, 100 (colour illus.).

Humphrey McQueen, The black swan of trespass: the emergence of Modernist painting in Australia to 1944, Sydney, 1979, (illus.). plate no. 26

Denise Mimmocchi and Deborah Edwards, Art and Australia (Vol. 43, No. 1), 'Margaret Preston', pg. 100-107, Sydney, Sep 2005-Nov 2005, 107.

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 151

Hal Missingham, Contemporary Australian painting from the National Collection, Sydney, circa 1946, 2 (illus.), 11. 16

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Margaret Preston and William Dobell loan exhibition, Sydney, 1942. 46

National Council of Women, An exhibition of women's achievements in the arts, New South Wales, 1960. 31; Kindly lent by the AGNSW

New South Wales Society of Artists, Society of Artists Annual Exhibition, Sydney, 1941. 4; Room One; titled 'I lived at Berowra'; price: 12 Gns.

Ian North, The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 11, 50 (illus.). O.35

Barry Pearce and Deborah Edwards, Look, 'Forthcoming Australian features', pg. 24, Melbourne, Apr 2001, front cover (colour illus.), 7 (colour illus.), 24 (colour illus.).

Georgina Pemberton, H&H: Hoofs & horns, 'Portrait of a lady', pg. 128-129, Neutral Bay, Autumn 2005, 128, 129 (colour illus.).

Nicholas Thomas, Possessions: indigenous art / colonial culture, 'Beginnings', pg.7-49, London, 1999, 39.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home annual: Australian life and scenery, Sydney, Oct 1941, 28 (colour illus.). titled 'Berowra'

Unknown, Events March-May 2000, 'Sydney Sub-urb', pg. 1, Glebe, Mar 2000-May 2000, 1 (illus.). in 'Exhibitions' section

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily telegraph and daily news, 'An exhibition pre-view: Artists assist red cross', pg. 6, Sydney, 05 Sep 1941, 6. Review of the Society of Artists Exhibition, 1941.