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Australian art

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Circular Quay



Margaret Preston

Australia, England, France

29 Apr 1875 - 28 May 1963


Margaret Preston was one of the most innovative and prolific printmakers of her generation, producing etchings, monotypes, screenprints and stencil prints, as well as various types of relief prints, including woodcuts, linocuts and masonite cuts.

These classic images of Sydney Harbour were made by Preston in 1925 and are some of her best-known and most popular prints of Sydney. It was an important year for Preston and her activity as a printmaker, when she included sixty-five prints in a joint exhibition in Sydney and Melbourne with her friend and contemporary Thea Proctor, whom she had introduced to woodcuts. The exhibition received favourable critical comment and the prints attracted considerable public attention and appreciation.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000




Media category


Materials used

woodcut, printed in black ink, hand-coloured with gouache on thin ivory mulberry paper


19th proof from an edition of 50, hand coloured


24.7 x 24.4 cm blockmark; 34.8 x 29.5 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed in block to print l.l., incised "MP".
Signed l.r. beneath blockmark, pencil "Margaret Preston". Not dated.


Purchased 1964


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Margaret Preston

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 11 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 21 publications


Elizabeth Butel, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 29, 31 (colour illus.), 87. P.11

Roger Butler, Sydney by design: wood and linoblock prints by Sydney women artists between the wars, 'Sydney by design: Wood and linocut prints by Sydney women artists between the wars', pg. 3-11, Canberra, 1995, 23 (illus.), 48. Collection of the National Art Gallery of Australia

Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 1987, 105 (colour illus.). 84; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 2005, 117. 84; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Roger Arthur Butler, Printed images by Australian artists 1885-1955, 'Exemplars: Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor', pg. 164-173, Canberra, 2007, 169 (illus.). printed in black ink, not hand-coloured; Collection of the National Gallery of Australia

Helen Campbell, Colour, rhythm, design: wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, 'Introduction', pg. 2, Sydney, 2010, 6 (colour illus.).

John Clarke, The Cambridge companion to Australian Art, ''Asian art' in Australia', pg. 217-230, Port Melbourne, 2011, 226, 362-363. 17.9 (colour illus.), between pg. 220 and 221.

Deborah Edwards, Margaret Preston, 'Transitions 1920s', pg. 61-150, Sydney, 2005, 80, 82, 92 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 182-197, Sydney, 1999, 192 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 61 (colour illus.). 49

Josef Lebovic, Masterpieces of Australian printmaking, Sydney, 1987, 100, 101 (colour illus.). 140; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 37 (colour illus.).

Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Making Sydney modern: the artistic shaping of the postwar city', pg. 66-85, Sydney, 2013, 71 (colour illus.), 217, 218, 315, 323.

Lawrence Nield, Public Sydney: drawing the city, 'The squaring of Circular Quay', pg. 178-183, Sydney, 2013, 180 (colour illus.), 224, 228.

Ian North, The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 19 (colour illus.), 53 (illus.). P.10

Ursula Prunster, Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (illus.). card no. 5: Margaret Preston 'Implement blue' 1927

Vaughan Rees, Art-i-facts: Book Two, an exploration of ideas in drawing, Sydney, 1998, 29, 87 (colour illus.).

John Slater, Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'The city marginalised to the city revealed', pg. 15-34, Melbourne, 2004, viii (colour illus., detail), xi, 22 (colour illus.). illus. no. 10

The Brett Whiteley Studio (Editor), Big blue: the painted harbour (list of works), Sydney, 1997.

Kay Vernon, Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Sydney, 1990. 51

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home: an Australian quarterly, Sydney, Mar 1928, front cover (illus.).