Lionel LINDSAY, Edge of the world Enlarge 1 /1


Creswick, Victoria, Australia 1874 – Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia 1961

  • Europe 1902-03
  • Europe 1910
  • England, Europe 1925-27
  • North Africa, India, Europe 1928-30
  • Europe 1933-34

Edge of the world 1907 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper etching, aquatint and burnishing, printed in warm black ink, from one plate Support: off-white laid paper
Manufacturer's Mark: watermark, 'o' [partial].
Edition State: 2nd state of 2; published state
Impression: proof E
Edition: edition of 30

Primary Insc: signed lower left below plate-mark in black pencil, 'Lionel Lindsay'. not dated. titled lower centre below plate-mark in black pencil, 'Edge of the World'. inscribed lower right below plate-mark in black pencil, 'proof E'. annotated lower left of sheet, 'This was my mascot. Streeton bought a / print for Baldwin Spencer at 1 guinea / + said this is very good price it at 3 guineas. / It was sold at Auction for 15 guineas.'.
Secondary Insc: no inscriptions.
Tertiary Insc: inscribed with Queale Bequest reference number verso lower right in black pencil, '195'.
Dimensions: plate-mark 14.2 h x 11.7 w cm sheet 19.3 h x 15.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Bequest of Alan Queale, 1982.
Accession No: NGA 83.771
Subject: Collection: The Alan Queale collection of Lionel Lindsay etchings and wood-engravings, acquired 1982. Australia, Art style: Painter-etchers 1860s-1938
Image rights: © National Library of Australia
  • Alan Queale, Brisbane. Bequeathed to the Australian National Gallery by Alan Queale, Brisbane, 1982. Alan Queale Bequest accepted by the Australian National Gallery, 1983.

On his return from an extended journey through Europe in 1903, Lionel Lindsay was struck by a need for a distinctly Australian visual vocabulary. Edge of the world presents an Arcadia of scrubby, sunbleached eucalypts and was influenced and inspired by a variety of sources: prints by followers of William Blake, the classical revival within Australia, the idealised landscapes of the Heidelberg School artists and the impact of Symbolism. The inclusion of the naked female figure tempers the specifically Australian setting and the detailed rendering of the rocks, trees and sweeping sky. While she is depicted as being at one with her environment, she looks into the distance to the possibility of a world beyond the one she knows.

Lindsay’s Edge of the world was an experiment in using the characteristics of aquatint to enhance his line etchings. The work marked a turning point for Lindsay and he received much acclaim following its display in the Society of Artists exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne in 1907. While never equalling the attention lavished upon his brother Norman, with this print Lionel received acknowledgement for both his virtuosity in the medium and for the evocative subject matter.

Lee Kinsella 2002.

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