Douglas ANNAND, not titled [lady with feather in hat] Enlarge 1 /1

Douglas ANNAND

Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia 1903 – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1976

22 March, 1903 – 14 December, 1976

not titled [lady with feather in hat] 1935 Description: Cover design for 'The Home' magazine, Vol. 16, No. 4, April 1935
Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: drawings, collages, cardboard; feather; metal; textile collage of shaped wire, feathers and black paper Support: fabric mounted on cardboard

Primary Insc: signed lower centre in wire, 'Douglas Annand'. not dated. not titled.
Dimensions: image 34.3 h x 32.4 w cm sheet 34.3 h x 32.4 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1989
Accession No: NGA 89.11.256
Image rights: © A.M. Annand
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from Tony Annand, the artist’s son, Sydney, 1989.

In 1935, Sydney Ure Smith commissioned Douglas Annand to design a cover for the April issue of his magazine The Home. It was the premier women’s magazine published in Australia between the wars, when the growing consumer market focused on women in an increasingly fashion-conscious society. Annand played a significant role at this time, joining Adrian Feint, Thea Proctor and Hera Roberts in producing cover designs in a period when commercial art replaced illustration as a mode of employment for artists. These artists transformed the image of Australian women, from maternal figures to sophisticated symbols of modern Australian society.

This cover portrays in profile the head of an elegant, fashion-conscious young woman, perhaps an allusion to the line drawings of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec. Her image is represented in outline only, in wire on a background of red velvet. An elegant hat, adorned with a large feather, partly hides her hair and face. Annand portrayed her hair as thins curls of wire and, ever the purist, signed his name in the same medium. He used unexpected textural contrasts to advantage, with the flowing linear outline in wire – used completely out of context – indicating the strength of this thoroughly modern woman. The plush red velvet, with its implication of refinement, suggests dignity and grace.

The female form Annand chose for his first cover of The Home was simple and sophisticated and typified the restraint of 1930s fashion. For this, and the majority of his cover designs, Annand continued his experiments with collage. He created images which reproduced perfectly the shapes and textures of the carefully chosen materials.

Anne McDonald

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002