Art and Design


The Iron Church

For over 50 years, the site next to the New South Wales Parliament on Macquarie Street was occupied by one of the Colony's more unusual pieces of architecture.

Douglas Snelling: Pan-Pacific modernist

Stylish and talented architect-designer Douglas Snelling introduced modern American living styles to aspirational Sydneysiders after the Second World War.

How Australia builds

The recently digitised Building magazine is a trove of information about twentieth century construction. 


Drawings and paintings

The Magic Pudding

In October 1918 Angus & Robertson published what would become one of Australia’s best known children’s stories: The Magic Pudding.


An 1802 portrait of a young Eora man, by French artist Nicolas-Martin Petit, is remarkable for its attention to detail.

Eternally yours

Buried deep down in the cool darkness of the Library’s framed picture store hangs a beautiful portrait of the young Mrs F O’Brien. It was painted in mid-1841 by naval surgeon-turned artist Maurice Felton from a death mask.

A French sailor-artist on the South Seas

An enquiry from France brings to light a gem of nineteenth century travel illustration.


Graphic design

River dreams

Bold plans to transform the Cooks River in Sydney are reflected in the Library's collection.

The Sydney Cove Medallion

An interest by British arrivals in the quality of Sydney clay led to the making of the Sydney Cove Medallion by noted English ceramicist, Josiah Wedgwood.