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La vie en rouille laquée



Raymond McGrath

Australia, Ireland

07 Mar 1903 – 23 Dec 1977

No image
  • Details

    Other Title
    Babette s'en va
    Media category
    Materials used
    wood engraving, printed in black ink on ivory Abbey Mills paper
    10.3 x 12.7 cm blockmark; 28.8 x 22.1 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., pen and brown ink "Raymond McGrath, 1928.".

    Purchased 1964
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Raymond McGrath

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Born and educated in Sydney, Raymond McGrath’s studies at Cambridge in the 1920s were the foundation of his long career
    as a modernist architect and designer in England and Ireland. His early forays into printmaking were etchings made in Sydney
    in the early 1920s, but it was in his wood engraving of the 1930s that McGrath best expressed his interest in book design, and
    talent as an artist.

    This wood engraving illustrates a poem, ‘La Vie en Rouille Laquée’, by Ian Henning (1905–75). McGrath and Henning, both
    recent graduates of the University of Sydney, became firm friends while travelling to Europe in 1926 to further their education with a small group of other Australian travelling-scholarship holders – McGrath with the intention of studying Architecture and Henning to pursue doctoral studies in French. They were in frequent contact while in Europe and in June 1928, McGrath wrote from Cambridge to Henning in Paris, describing a wood engraving he had just made of a merry-go-round, with the suggestion that Henning write a poem to accompany it.

    Henning wrote in 1928: ‘So I put away my note slips … closed the shutters, lit the electric light, took out a sheet of foolscap, sat down in front of it and stared at the wall till half past seven. I did not chew the end quite off my fountain pen ... Anyhow on Friday I managed to turn out something that will serve the purpose perhaps. No doubt the hurdy-gurdy flavour will be there allright.’ The poem was well received in Cambridge when it was published, illustrated by the wood engraving, in McGrath’s
    college magazine, the Lady Clare Magazine. McGrath sent the print, with a number of others, for exhibition at Macquarie
    Galleries in Sydney in October that year.

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

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Raymond McGrath

See all 11 works