Olive COTTON, Skeleton leaf Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 2003

Skeleton leaf 1964 Creation Notes: printed 1984
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: Signed l.r. print border, pen, "Olive Cotton". Dated l.l. print border, pen, "...'64". Titled l.l. print border, pen, "Skeleton leaf".
Dimensions: printed image 50.4 h x 40.8 w cm sheet 57.8 h x 47.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1756

This leaf skeleton – a leaf that has had its pulp removed with heat and soda – was probably photographed in front of a window in Cotton’s home near Cowra, NSW. Since the 1930s Cotton had been drawn to the close study of nature, and many of her best photographs feature close-ups of flowers, tufts of grass and foliage. This photograph is notable because it was takenin the studio, and reflects the austerity and simplicity that pervaded Cotton’s work in the decades after the Second World War.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra