A. Henry FULLWOOD, The Medway Valley, Kent. Enlarge 1 /1


Birmingham, England 1863 – Waverley, New South Wales, Australia 1930

  • Australia from 1883
  • United States of America, England 1900-20

The Medway Valley, Kent. 1907 Place made: London, Greater London, England
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper lithograph, printed in black ink, from one stone Support: cream wove paper
Manufacturer's Mark: no manufacturer's mark
Edition State: published state
Impression: undesignated impression
Edition: edition unknown

Dimensions: printed image 20.0 h x 31.5 w cm sheet 28.2 h x 39.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.605
  • With the artist at his death in 1930.
  • By descent to the Walker family.
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from Mr and Mrs Walker, Cooma, April 1987.

When Henry Fullwood came to Australia in 1883, he found work as an illustrator and lithographic draughtsman in Sydney. He painted spontaneous, lyrical landscapes around Sydney Harbour and along the Hawkesbury River and was one of the first to make etchings as a fine art. In 1900 he left Australia for Europe, like many other artists, not returning until 1920.

In London in the early 1900s, he continued to make etchings of historic places and scenic sights, but also worked with two other printmaking processes – lithography and monotype. In his lithograph, The Medway Valley, Kent, Fullwood selected a bold subject with a dramatic vantage point, viewing the valley from on high, past the sweeping curve of the arched bridge towards the ships in the harbour. He presented the scene with a radiant light on one side, throwing highlights onto the landscape below, and with contrasting dark storm clouds and rain casting other areas into shadow. He took full advantage of the soft, rich, deep blacks, and the varying shades of grey that are possible with lithography to create these dramatic effects.

Fullwood was so fascinated by the process of making monotypes that he wrote an article about it for the Studio magazine in the summer of 1904, where he suggested that the paper and printing techniques that an artist used were crucial to the effects they could achieve.  In Harvest in Suffolk he used the delicacy of this medium to create a soft, low-key view of a quiet rural landscape. His experience with the medium meant that he could create as complex an image as if he were painting directly onto paper, while at the same time taking advantage of the subtle textural effects that can be obtained through monotype.

Anne Gray

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