# 38842

PRESTON, Margaret (1875 - 1963)

Sturt’s Desert Pea, 1925

$22,000.00 AUD

Woodcut, printed in black ink from one block, coloured by hand, measuring 184 x 248 mm (image), signed in the image lower left M. P., signed in pencil lower right Margaret Preston, titled lower left 15 Proof Sturt’s Desert Pea etc., framed in black timber. Printed in an edition of 50 copies.

This striking modernist woodcut features a still life arrangement of native Australian flora including Sturt’s desert pea, waratah, flannel flowers, Christmas bell and native fuchsia.

Flower arranging was a pursuit that Preston took seriously, more than a domestic hobby she saw the arrangements as both representative and functional.

Flowers should be arranged to express something. Thus, when you come into a darkened room on a hot Australian day, and gradually discover for yourself a single lovely white flower in a cool silver vase, how much more restful and beautiful than to find a heaped pot of scarlet geraniums, Iceland poppies etc… Mix your flowers as you do your guests, use due deference to their edges, see how sharp herringbone fern demands the picot zinnia as a complement, and roses, with their frail petals, beg the help of the dancing and frivolous Michaelmas daisy. – Margaret Preston, The Home, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 1924.


Collections (other examples of the woodcut):

National Gallery of Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia


Selected literature (other examples illustrated):

BUTLER, Roger. The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonne. Canberra : Australian National Gallery and Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1987, catalogue no. 88, p. 109 (illustrated)

BUTLER, Roger. The Prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonne. Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2005, catalogue no. 88, p. 120 (illustrated).

Woman’s World, Sydney, vol. 6, no. 1, January 1926, p. 64 (illustrated, as ‘N.S.W. Wild Flowers’)

The Home, Sydney, vol. 8, no. 8, August 1927, p. 26 (illustrated)

Art in Australia, Sydney, 3rd Series, No. 22 (Margaret Preston Number), December 1927, p. 76, pl. 41 ((illustrated as ‘Australian Wild Flowers’)

Art in Australia, Sydney, No. 57, 15 November 1934, p. 90 (illustrated)