Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Violet Teague and Geraldine Rede

Violet Teague (1872-1951)
Geraldine Rede (1874-1943)
Jessie Traill (1881-1967)

Three Early Australian Printmakers.

Although my humble Blog mainly deals with the lesser Gods and Goddesses of linoleum and woodcut printmaking I sometimes stumble upon artists who belong or once belonged in the realms of the immortals of printmaking. Today an unforseen posting.

My find of this old little rabbits print in a car boot sale nearby by a lesser, obscured and forgotten printmaker, leading up to the finding of these three Australian ladies. First I show you two contemporate Lowlands rabbit prints. By the hand of Dutch Julie de Graag (1877-1924)
and through the wonderful eyes of German Fritz Lang (1877-1961).
In their times these Australian ladies belonged to or formed the early elite of Australian printmaking. They shared the same financial independancy thus devoting their lives and careers entirely to art. If you have 5 minutes to spare visiting this Link, http://dl.nfsa.gov.au/clip/hidden7 will be time well spend and a revelation.

Looking for more rabbits on prints I stumbled upon this little book titled "When Night Falls in the Ti-Tree" (publ. 1905), a booklet made in the best Japanese tradition, wonderfully and asymmetrically designed over both pages and containing some amazingly wonderful prints. Violet (Helen Evangeline) Teague and Geraldine Rede mentioned both as the printers. I show you some highlights of the 30 pages. Finding a good copy in the market will set you back some 16.500 AUD ($ 16,500, € 12,500) The existence of only 12 copies (surviving) explaining the price. Despite the quality (and importance) of both books and the publisher's efforts the edition of booklets probably never travelled beyond the families. In 1988 an affordable reprint (ISBN 0642130728) was made and is still available second hand when you make a search for it (Amazon).

The second (and related to the Ti-tree) book maybe even rarer: "A little book of trees" (publ. 1909) just 24 pages, 6 of them designed ore left blank to create maximum Japanese asymetrical effect, about native Australian trees, is by Geraldine Rede (1874-1943), who’s father’s portrait was painted by Violet Teague. The lay-out and general idea of both books is more or less similar and very Japanese in design and construction.

Copies of both books are treasured in the National Library of Australia. Here's the Link to visit: http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/18082324?q=violet+Teague&c=book

Violet also was befriended with Jessie (Constance Alicia) Traill (1881-1967) the most famous printmaker of the three (and student of Frank Brangwyn in London) but she was mainly known for her etchings and aquatints. She is mostly recognized, known and awarded because of her series of etchings depicting the consrtuction and building of Sidney Harbour Bridge between 1927 and 1932.
But she was capable of making prints in the same atmosphere ands Japanese tradiotion as both ladies above as you can see in this 1921 “Japanese Mount Waring, Tweed River New South Wales” and 1920 "Stars in the River".

And this great "Stars of Heaven and Earth:


  1. ooo jessie trail is a nice discovery!

    i came across that ti-tree book somewhere a couple of years ago, and that froggie double-spread is one of my all-time favorites!

  2. Always nice to see you've stopped by Lilly. The frogs, because the design is so simple and the effect so great my favourite too. The rabbits with a nightly backlight by the moon a close second. Very clever. I found another atmospheric Jessie Traill etching and glued it in the posting (last picture, Stars of Heaven and Earth (what a great title !)