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Margaret Whitlam Galleries

Imaging Australia in Black and White: Newspaper Illustrations 1880-1940

Clancy of the Overflow

Herbert Moffitt


ink on paper

27.5cm X 48cm


Some out-back Australian types

Herbert Moffitt


Lithographic offset print

23cm X 30cm

Judge 'Herb' Moffit

Sydney Miller


Charcoal and pastel on paper

51cm X 38cm

Back from the Grave

William Macleod


ink on paper

29cm X 42.5cm

The Sick Lion (Usual Moral)

William Macleod


ink on paper

45.4cm X 50cm

The Mosquito season: ' That political insect the O'Sullivan '-Parkes

Phil May


ink on card

28cm X 36.5cm


Phil May


ink on card

14cm. X 20cm


The Margaret Whitlam Galleries, Female Orphan School, West Wing, Building EZ, Parramatta campus (View Map)
11 Apr - 25 Jul 2014
12th April 2014, from 2pm-4pm To be opened by Christine Yeats, (Senior Vice President of the RAHS)

For an invitation to the exhibition, please see Imaging Australia in Black and White: Invitation (DOCX, 1.08 MB)

Imaging Australia in Black-and-White: Newspaper Illustration 1880-1940

From farm boy to schoolteacher, and lawyer to judge, the talented Bulletin artist Herbert Moffitt mixed work and pleasure as an observer of everyday Australian life. He and his Bohemian friends were the most influential black-and-white artists of their day and their drawings make up a collection that tells a visual story of Australia and its characters in the decades either side of Federation (1901). His Bohemian circle included most of those who helped define a sense of national identity, artists such as Norman Lindsay, George Lambert, Livingston ‘Hop’ Hopkins, Phil May and William Macleod - part owner of the Bulletin, and writers like Henry Lawson, ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Mary Gilmore and Kenneth Slessor.

The drawings, prints and paintings Moffitt and his Bohemian friends swapped and gave each other make up the collection. They were left to his family who, fortunately for us, realized their significance and kept them together as a collection, and the fact that many of these drawings were framed and hung in Moffitt’s chambers when he became a judge reveals his high regard for their value. They were, and still remain, testament to the power of the image to assert beliefs and construct ideologies. Moffitt and the other artists of that era understood the importance of developing a visual culture that reflected who we are as Australians, and importantly, the power of the press in distributing that image in the form of comic drawings and illustrations across the vast continent to unite the Australian born population as they endeavoured to see themselves as a unified nation.

The exhibition of this collection is also an opportunity to see these artworks in their original form where the hand of the artist is visible in the details of the drawings and the creases and discolourations mark them with the passage of time. The skill and the passion of these twenty artists resound in the fifty drawings, paintings and prints that make up the exhibition of Imaging Australia in Black-and-White: Sketches from the Moffitt Collection.

Curated by Dr Janine Sager