We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


The church on the hill



Sydney Ure Smith


09 Jan 1887 – 11 Oct 1949

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    etching, printed in black ink with pale plate tone on cream laid paper
    Artist's proof 'B'. Edition of 50
    14.8 x 15.8 cm platemark; 19.8 x 20.6 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed in plate to print upper right "S.Ure. Smith".
    Signed l.r. below image, pencil "Sydney Ure Smith". Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Australian Prints, Drawings and Watercolours Benefactors' Fund 2016
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Sydney Ure Smith

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Sydney Ure Smith - artist, publisher and tireless promoter of Australian art - was a key figure in the etching revival in Sydney, not only as a practitioner of etching but also through his publications on the subject, including his magazine 'Art in Australia'.

    He made his first etching at the age of nineteen and was assisted in his efforts by fellow artists Eirene Mort and his good friend Lionel Lindsay. He bought Livingston Hopkins’ etching press to edition his work, eventually producing over 100 prints. Ure Smith was an active member of the Australian Painter-Etchers’ Society, exhibiting fifty-one etchings in their inaugural exhibition of 1921, and publishing a special edition of 'Art in Australia' to accompany the show. In 1925 he edited and published another special ‘Etching edition’ of the magazine, with an ambitious attempt to record a complete list of etchings published in Australia, with their date of issue and number of impressions.

    Sydney Ure Smith had a keen interest in architecture, particularly ‘old Sydney’ - areas like the Rocks, Windsor, and central Sydney that still featured the colonial buildings and haphazard streets of the nineteenth century. Many of these areas were under threat of demolition as the growing city developed, and Ure Smith, with others including Julian Ashton and Lionel Lindsay, recorded the older quarters of the city and their colourful street life, in part for nostalgia but also to advocate for their preservation.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Fieldwork, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor, 17 Jul 2020–20 Sep 2020

      Fieldwork, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, 28 Nov 2020–07 Feb 2021

      Fieldwork, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains, 12 Mar 2021–09 May 2021

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Sydney Ure Smith

See all 93 works