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Australian art

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Sister Diddy

circa 1920


Grace Cossington Smith


1892 - 20 Dec 1984


Grace Cossington Smith loved to draw and continued the practice over her long career, including resolved works for exhibition, studies for paintings and drawings for personal use. Among her earliest drawings were images of everyday life at home in Sydney’s northern suburbs, with images of her home and its environs, and portraits of her family.

Cossington Smith’s parents, siblings and later nieces and nephews were willing and available subjects for the artist; this drawing is of her younger sister Charlotte (“Diddy”, 1897-1962). Cossington Smith’s sketchbooks (now in the National Gallery of Australia) include several images of Diddy, characteristically pictured reading with her eyes downcast and feet propped up, images of domestic contentment and leisure. Diddy remained living at home in the Smith household with her sister Grace until the mid 1920s, when her career as a nurse progressed.

Diddy is the subject of another Cossington Smith work in the Gallery collection, a painting titled ‘The reader’ c.1919.


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia


circa 1920

Media category


Materials used

pencil, crayon on buff wove paper


34.0 x 26.7 cm sight/sheet; 52.2 x 42.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., pencil 'G. Cossington Smith/ 1920?/ Sister Diddy'.


Purchased with funds provided by Guy, Marian and Meredith Paynter 2018


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Grace Cossington Smith

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University and Ruth Prowse, Ruth Prowse, thirty years of collecting, Canberra, 2004, 15 (illus.).

Niagara Galleries, Blue Chip XX: The collectors’ exhibition: featuring works from the private collection of the late Ruth Prowse, Richmond, 2018, 5 (colour illus.).