Margaret PRESTON, The studio window Enlarge 1 /1

Margaret PRESTON

Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 1875 – Mosman, New South Wales, Australia 1963

  • Germany and France 1904-07
  • France, England and Ireland 1912-19

The studio window 1906 Place made: 64 rue Madame, Paris, Île-de-France, Ville de Paris department, France
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas

Primary Insc: Signed with initials and dated l.r.: 'M.RM / 06/'
Tertiary Insc: 'TOILES & COULEURS / EXTRA - FINES / LUCIEN LEFEBVRE - FOINET / PARIS / 19 RUE VAVIN & 2 RUE BREA ' stamp verso
Dimensions: 81.5 h x 60.0 w cm framed (overall) 975 h x 760 w x 70 d mm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2002
Accession No: NGA 2002.433
Image rights: © Margaret Rose Preston Estate. Licensed by Viscopy

The studio window is set in the sitting room of the Paris apartment that Preston shared with fellow Australian artist Bessie Davidson in 1906. It is a scene of stillness and quiet reflection. The young woman’s reading material is possibly a popular literary or artistic journal and suggests that she is engrossed in the new ideas of her time. In this regard, Preston’s image is specific, whereas other artists’ images of women reading allow the viewer to imagine the book as either a piece of traditional fiction, contemporary literature or history.

Preston’s woman is dressed in a conventional pretty pink dress of her time, whereas the figures in Rothenstein’s The Browning readers or Gwen John’s A lady readingwear more modern ‘artistic’ dress.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra