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Stenocarpus - wheel flower
(c. 1929)

hand-coloured woodcut on brown hand-made paper
44.2 × 44.7 cm irreg. (block) 48.4 × 47.1 cm irreg. (sheet)
Catalogue/s Raisonné
Butler 140
Accession Number
Australian Prints / Australian Prints & Drawings
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1979
© Margaret Preston/Licensed by VISCOPY, Sydney
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

Margaret Preston was a prominent and vocal figure within the contemporary art world of 1920s Australia and contributed significantly to the development of an Australian tradition of relief printmaking.

First recorded in a solo exhibition at the Grosvenor Galleries in Sydney, in 1929, Wheelflower was regarded by the artist as one of her finest prints. Striking in scale, the extant block is composed of nine joined pieces of huon pine. Boldly coloured and displaying strong asymmetrical design, some known impressions of this print are inscribed with a reference to the flower’s botanical name. For this reason and due to the nature of its depiction – shown in the various stages of growth in the manner traditionally associated with the work of botanical artists – this work is distinguished with Preston’s oeuvre. In contrast to Preston’s well-known still-lifes of cut flowers arranged in vases, the wheelflower is depicted as if in its natural environment, the stems, leaves and flower petals extending beyond the print’s border.