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Australian art

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The water cart

(circa 1921)


Percy Leason

Australia, United States of America

25 Feb 1889 - 11 Sep 1959


Percy Leason was born at Kaniva, Victoria and studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne 1907-10 and with Max Meldrum in 1927. At the age of 17 he was apprenticed to commercial lithographers Sands and McDougall. Encouraged by Sydney Ure Smith, he moved from Melbourne to Sydney in 1917 to work for the advertising firm Smith and Julius in 1917, the same year as Lloyd Rees, both on the strength of their black and white drawings. He was political cartoonist for the 'Bulletin' from 1919 to 1924, and then became the most highly paid cartoonist in Australia when he began working for Melbourne Punch. He was famous for his 'Wiregrass' cartoons in 'Table Talk' (1924-37) and was a founding member of the Australian Painter-Etchers Society; 'The water cart' was included in their first exhibition. Leason made very few etchings, most of which are images of rural life. The cancelled copper plate for The water cart is in the Gallery's collection. Leason emigrated to the United States in 1938.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998



(circa 1921)

Media category


Materials used

etching, black ink with very pale plate tone on ivory wove paper




5.7 x 13.3 cm platemark; 13.5 x 20.1 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r., pencil "Percy Leason".
Signed within plate to print l.l., "Leason". Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Arthur Boyd Acquisition Fund 1998


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Percy Leason

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Australian Prints from the Collection 139 of the best', pg. 26-27, Heidelberg, Nov 1998, 27.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 50 (illus.). 38

Anne Ryan, Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2007, 44 (colour illus.). 61

Sydney Ure Smith, Bertram Stevens and Charles Lloyd Jones (Editors), Art in Australia [series 1, no. 9], Sydney, Sep 1921. plate no. 56