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Australian art

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Nutmeg sifters

(circa 1941)


Ian Fairweather

Scotland, Australia

29 Sep 1891 - 20 May 1974


This delicate watercolour is on very thin paper, and was drawn with economy and speed. There are recognisable 'types' in the image, such as the figure of mother and child, to which Fairweather often returned. The intense concentration of the women as they undertake their work presents a calm and meditative scene.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004


Other Title

Nutmeg sifters (Singapore)


(circa 1941)

Media category


Materials used

pencil, watercolour, gouache on thin cream tissue


38.4 x 24.6 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.l., pencil "I Fairweather". Not dated.


Gift of Tom and Jenny Parramore 1985


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ian Fairweather

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 9 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986. 75

Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Melbourne and Lina Bryans', pg. 68-83, Sydney, 2009, 69 (colour illus.), 248. plate no. 42; 47; titled 'Nutmeg sifters (Singapore)'

Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Manila, Calcutta, Melbourne: "Mood & Moment"', pg. 50- 72., Sydney, 1981, 70 (colour illus.), 234. plate no. 30; 55; titled 'Nutmeg Sifters (Singapore)'; Collection Mr T.I. Parramore, Sydney.

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 228 (colour illus.), 300.

Tim Fisher, The drawings of Ian Fairweather, 'The Calcutta Group', pg. 9, Port Melbourne, 1997, 10, 21 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, 'Introduction: Painting in watercolour', pg. 8-16, Sydney, 1995, 13, 62 (colour illus.), 120. 51

Barry Pearce, The Weekend Australian, 'Time makes its judgment', pg. 2-3, Sydney, 12 Aug 2000-13 Aug 2000, 2 (colour illus.). This colour supplement is a 'Review Special' published for the 'Weekend Australian'. It consists of a four-page, colour wrap-around for the 'Weekend Australian Review'. 'The Australian' was the media sponsor for the AGNSW Exhibition 'Australian Icons', for the Olympic Arts Festival 2000.

Anne Ryan, Look, 'The Drawings of Ian Fairweather', pg. 14-15, Heidelberg, Dec 1997, 15 (colour illus.).

INK: Whiteley and Others, Sydney, 2006. List of works