Preston’s Banksia

A local banksia

Artists often require complex and rarefied ‘zones’ or spaces to enact the creative process. At Berowra during the 1930s Margaret Preston, surrounded by a spectacular bushland setting on the Preston’s 11 acre property, found those spaces. By all accounts Margaret would visit, often spending hours at the site of a very old Banksia tree. Here Margaret found the ‘space’ in the presence of this majestic Banksia which lived in a remote part of the Preston’s property, spending hours in quiet contemplation. In fact, in some of Margaret’s most influential woodblock prints of this period, the Banksia tree is depicted as a spiritual presence, lifting and branching upwards against the darkness of a twilight sky. The print titled ‘Banksia Tree’ in relief, produced in 1939, the last year of her stay in Berowra, still remains an awe-inspiring work.


Detail of a banksia tree – an original that once grew
on Prestons property

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