Art and Design


The flat roofs of Sydney

A design feature used by big-name modernist architects appeared first in a handful of houses on Sydney’s lower North Shore.

The Bridge: the arch that cut the sky

The journey to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge would take almost 100 years. In this 5-part series, travel through history to experience the story of realising a city’s dream. 

Architecture: arrival of modernism

Architectural modernism was a revolutionary rejection of past styles and the use of architectural ornament.

Architect of the screen: Eric Thompson as architect, artist and filmmaker

Eric Thompson’s career as an architect, artist and filmmaker highlights the close connection between architecture and design in the development of the film industry.

Harry Seidler collection

Designs and photographs from Australia's best known modernist architect.

Decoration and Glass magazine

Decoration and Glass, a magazine for home builders, architects and decorators has been digitised in colour as part of the Library’s Digital Excellence Program. 

Francis Greenway: convict architect

Francis Greenway (1777- 1837) produced some of the finest colonial buildings in Australia.

The Garden Palace

Sydney’s Garden Palace was a magnificent building with a grandeur that dominated the skyline and captivated society from its opening in 1879. Three years later it was destroyed in a devastating fire.

Drawings and paintings

A changing world

Children’s picture books reflect the world that makes them, but must try to remake that world too.

Art & life: Cressida Campbell

As she finalises work for her landmark exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Sydney artist Cressida Campbell invites Openbook into her studio.

Grand vistas

Sixteen panoramas will displayed in the inaugural exhibition of the Library’s new Drawings, Watercolours and Prints Gallery.

Drawing a fine line

A curator encounters a trailblazing illustrator whose work shone in newspapers.

Daring and devotion

The art of Sydney couple George and Charis Schwarz defies neat categories, but their body of work will be preserved.

War diaries of George Gittoes

A selection of  visual diaries of Australian artist George Gittoes, covering the period between 2001 and 2014, have been recently digitised by the Library.

Kathleen’s voyage: A love story

These beautifully illustrated logbooks record a detailed account of the circumnavigation of the world by the deep-sea cruising yacht Kathleen Gillett.

What about the sheilas?

Peter Kingston couldn’t please everyone in his artist’s book Sheilas, but the result is a special piece of work.

Graphic design

A capital idea

Decorated initials — artworks in themselves — have a long history.

The life & death of Smith's Weekly

The death of a newspaper plays out in a box of cartoons.

The printer’s mark

That curious penguin on the spine of your favourite paperback isn’t there just for decoration.

The graphic design of Donald Fish

Boxes filled with artwork, illustrations, posters, photographs and advertisements mark an acclaimed designer's life.

The slippery symbols of Australia

As a nation’s sense of itself and its place in the world shifts, so do the symbols it uses to tell its story.

A nice little business: NSW’s circulating libraries

Part of daily life in the mid twentieth century, circulating libraries have left charming traces.

Love is all: Myles Dunphy and romance

The well-known conservationist Myles Dunphy’s romantic side is beautifully illustrated in a new acquisition.

We tell the world: signwriting, decorating and Althouse & Geiger

The Library’s collection offers glimpses into Sydney signwriting and decorating firm Althouse & Geiger that once boasted, 'We tell the world everything it wants to know'.