Margaret Preston was one of the most innovative and prolific printmakers of her generation, producing etchings, monotypes, screenprints and stencil prints, as well as various types of relief prints, including woodcuts, linocuts and masonite cuts.
These classic images of Sydney Harbour were made by Preston in 1925 and are some of her best-known and most popular prints of Sydney. It was an important year for Preston and her activity as a printmaker, when she included sixty-five prints in a joint exhibition in Sydney and Melbourne with her friend and contemporary Thea Proctor, whom she had introduced to woodcuts. The exhibition received favourable critical comment and the prints attracted considerable public attention and appreciation.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000
woodcut, printed in black ink, hand-coloured with gouache on thin ivory mulberry paper
19th proof from an edition of 50, hand coloured
24.7 x 24.4 cm blockmark; 34.8 x 29.5 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed in block to print l.l., incised "MP". Signed l.r. beneath blockmark, pencil "Margaret Preston". Not dated.
Not on display
© Margaret Rose Preston Estate. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Dec 1985–09 Feb 1986
Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Jan 1990–11 Mar 1990
Big Blue - the painted harbour (1997), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Jun 1997–29 Mar 1998
Australian prints from the Gallery's collection (1998-1999), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Nov 1998–07 Feb 1999
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Margaret Preston in Mosman, Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman, 07 Sep 2002–13 Oct 2002
Margaret Preston retrospective:
Australian Collection Focus: Colour, Rhythm, Design - wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Mar 2010–11 Jul 2010
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 21 publications
Elizabeth Butel, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 29, 31 (colour illus.), 87. cat.no. P.11
Roger Butler, Sydney by design: wood and linoblock prints by Sydney women artists between the wars, 'Sydney by design: Wood and linocut prints by Sydney women artists between the wars', pg. 3-11, Canberra, 1995, 23 (illus.), 48. Collection of the National Art Gallery of Australia
Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 2005, 117. cat.no. 84; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.
Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 1987, 105 (colour illus.). cat.no. 84; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.
Roger Arthur Butler, Printed images by Australian artists 1885-1955, 'Exemplars: Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor', pg. 164-173, Canberra, 2007, 169 (illus.). printed in black ink, not hand-coloured; Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
Helen Campbell, Colour, rhythm, design: wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, 'Introduction', pg. 2, Sydney, 2010, 6 (colour illus.).
John Clarke, The Cambridge companion to Australian Art, ''Asian art' in Australia', pg. 217-230, Port Melbourne, 2011, 226, 362-363. fig.no. 17.9 (colour illus.), between pg. 220 and 221.
Deborah Edwards, Margaret Preston, 'Transitions 1920s', pg. 61-150, Sydney, 2005, 80, 82, 92 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 182-197, Sydney, 1999, 192 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 61 (colour illus.). cat.no. 49
Josef Lebovic, Masterpieces of Australian printmaking, Sydney, 1987, 100, 101 (colour illus.). cat.no. 140; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.
Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 37 (colour illus.).
Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Making Sydney modern: the artistic shaping of the postwar city', pg. 66-85, Sydney, 2013, 71 (colour illus.), 217, 218, 315, 323.
Lawrence Nield, Public Sydney: drawing the city, 'The squaring of Circular Quay', pg. 178-183, Sydney, 2013, 180 (colour illus.), 224, 228.
Ian North, The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 19 (colour illus.), 53 (illus.). cat.no. P.10
Ursula Prunster, Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (illus.). card no. 5: Margaret Preston 'Implement blue' 1927
Vaughan Rees, Art-i-facts: Book Two, an exploration of ideas in drawing, Sydney, 1998, 29, 87 (colour illus.).
John Slater, Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'The city marginalised to the city revealed', pg. 15-34, Melbourne, 2004, viii (colour illus., detail), xi, 22 (colour illus.). illus. no. 10
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. cat.no. 51
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home: an Australian quarterly, Sydney, Mar 1928, front cover (illus.).