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Australian art

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Moonrise fantasy



Sydney Long

Australia, England

20 Aug 1871 - 23 Jan 1955


Sydney Long took up etching after he had already achieved considerable success as a painter in Australia, and gone to London to further his career, rather less successfully. In Sydney he had been a member and later President of the Society of Artists with Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Julian Ashton and taught at Ashton’s Sydney Art School, becoming second in charge by 1907. His work at the turn of the century was decorative and symbolist, influenced by the English Aesthetic movement, and included paintings such as 'Pan' 1898, in the Gallery's collection. Long made the etching after the painting much later, harking back to an earlier period when his fame was at its height.

Long moved to London in 1910 and learnt etching from Frank Emanuel and Macolm Osborne at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, taking up the medium in earnest in 1918–19 and devoting much of his time to it for the next twelve years. He had a natural affinity for etching and his work was soon praised. He was elected an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1920 and was foundation honorary secretary of the Society of Graphic Art. The following year he visited Australia, and joined the Australian Painter-Etchers' Society.

Sydney Long taught many artists to etch in Sydney, including Donald Friend, Cedric Emanuel, Bim Hilder, Squire Morgan and Sheila McDonald. Conservative and opposed to modernist tendencies in art, he continued to etch until the collapse of the etching boom in the late 1930s. He was a Trustee of the AGNSW from 1939–49.

Many of Long's etchings were based on paintings, serving to publicise his work in Australia and in London, and also provide an additional source of income, which was a constant source of anxiety to him. He was particularly adept at using aquatint to achieve greater tonal range in his images and imbue them with a dreamy, romantic atmosphere, especially his landscapes.

from Anne Ryan, 'Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, Sydney 2007


Alternative title


Place where the work was made

London England



Media category


Materials used

etching, aquatint, printed in dark brown ink on ivory wove paper


1st State


27.8 x 40.5 cm platemark; 32.7 x 52.5 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r., pencil "Sydney Long.". Not dated.


Anonymous gift 1973


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Sydney Long

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


Roger Butler, Sydney Long: the spirit of the land, 'Sydney Long and Australian Printmaking', pg. 73-76, Canberra, 2012, 73, 165 (colour illus.). 76; not AGNSW impression; titled 'Fantasy' and dated 1919.

Sydney Long, The etched work of Sydney Long, A.R.E.: a complete catalogue of his etchings, Sydney, 1928, (illus.). 28; titled 'Fantasy'; dated 1917

Renée Free, Fin de Siècle, Sydney, Jan 1994.

Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, The etchings of Sydney Long: the Richard King Collection, Goulburn, 1990, (illus.). 45; titled 'Fantasy'; dated 1919; edition 7/30

Grahame Kime., Heaven on earth: Visions of arcadia, 'Visions of Arcadia', Gymea, 2005. List of works; not paginated

Joanna Mendelssohn, The life and work of Sydney Long, Sydney, 1979, 134 (illus.), 250. 17; titled 'Fantasy'; dated 1917; no details given for ANG impression

Anne Ryan, Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2007, 11 (colour illus.). 11