Olive COTTON, City rooftops Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 2003

City rooftops 1942 Creation Notes: printed 1984
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: Signed l.r. of print border, pencil, "Oliver Cotton". Dated l.l. of print border, pencil, "...'42". Titled l.l. of print border, pencil, "City rooftops".
Dimensions: printed image 29.4 h x 27.6 w cm sheet 37.7 h x 35.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1767

Cotton often photographed the view from the Dupain studio’s windows overlooking Clarence Street. On this occasion, she recorded the view towards Sydney’s Town Hall. Where images such as the earlier Sesquicentenary procession, Sydney found order and geometric patterning in contemporary urban life, City rooftops takes pleasure in the random and informal nature of the modern city, which in this picture shifts in and out of focus to the effect of creating a highly personalised and subjective view. Cotton was particularly interested in the effect created by the morning sun hitting the clamour of advertising signs lining the rooftops of buildings.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra