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Australian art

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I lived at Berowra



Margaret Preston

Australia, England, France

29 Apr 1875 - 28 May 1963


In 1936, Margaret Preston moved with her husband to a new home at Berowra to live in a house surrounded by bushland a couple of kilometres from the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney. 'I lived at Berowra' is among a number of works, including 'The brown pot' and 'Grey day in the ranges' that were painted within a three year period. They are characterized by a simplification of form, flattened perspectives and a reduced palette of earth-toned colours reminiscent of natural ochres found in the landscape, a visual expression of Preston's increasing interest in Aboriginal art.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000


Other Title


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


46.4 x 39.7 cm stretcher; 56.5 x 56.4 x 8.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l., pencil "M".
Signed and dated bot.c., pencil "M. Preston 1941".


Purchased 1941

Accession number


Artist information

Margaret Preston

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 15 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 28 publications


Aboriginal art', Look, 'Preston's Aboriginal inspiration: how Margaret Preston was influenced, pg. 16-17, Melbourne, Sep 2001, 17.

Joanna Capon, Yin-yang : China in Australia, 'The influence of China on Australian art', pg. 47-55, Sydney, 2008, 54.

Deborah Edwards, Australian Collection Focus: Margaret Preston The brown pot 1940, I lived at Berowra 1941, Grey day in the ranges 1942, 'An art for Australian, from Australians', pg. 3-9, Sydney, 2002, front cover (colour illus., detail), 4, 5 (colour illus.), 7-9, 13, 15-16.

Deborah Edwards, Art Monthly Australia, 'Margaret Preston: reviewing the landscape', pg. 19-23, Canberra, Dec 2002-Feb 2003, 19 (colour illus.), 20-21.

Deborah Edwards, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Landscapes of modernity 1920s-40s', pg. 216-235, Sydney, 2013, 222, 229 (colour illus.), 315, 323.

Peter Emmett, Sydney: metropolis, suburb, harbour, 'Suburb', pg. 71-72, Glebe, 2000, 99, 100 (colour illus.).

Denise Mimmocchi and Deborah Edwards, Art and Australia (Vol. 43, No. 1), 'Margaret Preston', pg. 100-107, Sydney, Sep 2005-Nov 2005, 107.

Barry Pearce and Deborah Edwards, Look, 'Forthcoming Australian features', pg. 24, Melbourne, Apr 2001, front cover (colour illus.), 7 (colour illus.), 24 (colour illus.).

Georgina Pemberton, H&H: Hoofs & horns, 'Portrait of a lady', pg. 128-129, Neutral Bay, Autumn 2005, 128, 129 (colour illus.).

The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 11, 50 (illus.). O.35

The black swan of trespass: the emergence of Modernist painting in Australia to 1944, Sydney, 1979, (illus.). plate no. 26

One hundred years of Australian landscape painting: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1968, Sydney, 1968, 18, 19 (illus.). 20

An exhibition of women's achievements in the arts, New South Wales, 1960. 31; Kindly lent by the AGNSW

A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 151

Margaret Preston and William Dobell loan exhibition, Sydney, 1942. 46

The Home annual: Australian life and scenery, Sydney, Oct 1941, 28 (colour illus.). titled 'Berowra'

Daily telegraph and daily news, 'An exhibition pre-view: Artists assist red cross', pg. 6, Sydney, 05 Sep 1941, 6. Review of the Society of Artists Exhibition, 1941.

Contemporary Australian painting from the National Collection, Sydney, circa 1946, 2 (illus.), 11. 16

Society of Artists Annual Exhibition, Sydney, 1941. 4; Room One; titled 'I lived at Berowra'; price: 12 Gns.

Possessions: indigenous art / colonial culture, 'Beginnings', pg.7-49, London, 1999, 39.

dOCUMENTA (13): the book of books, 'Participants, biographies, and exhibited objects and works', pg. 674-725, Ostfildern, 2012, 712.

The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 2005, 27.

Margaret Preston, ‘An art for Australia from Australians 1940s-1950s', pg.173-250, Sydney, 2005, 188, 189 (colour illus.), 190, 202, 240, 284.

Margaret Preston: Catalogue raisonné of paintings, monotypes and ceramics, Sydney, 2005, (colour illus.). Artworks: paintings 1941.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 15.

Events March-May 2000, 'Sydney Sub-urb', pg. 1, Glebe, Mar 2000-May 2000, 1 (illus.). in 'Exhibitions' section

Look, 'The art that made me: Reg Mombassa', Sydney, Nov 2015, 13 (colour illus.).

Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 57 (colour illus.), 86. O.15