Library staff show
Quick action by expert staff at the National Library of Australia (NLA) has saved a rare and historic lithograph created by Marion Mahony Griffin, one of the original designers of Canberra.
The 90-year-old lithograph on silk, which was lent to the Library from a private collection for The Dream of a Century: The Griffins in Australia’s Capital exhibition, had become stuck to the glass in its original frame, unbeknownst to the owner.
Director-General of the NLA, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said preservation staff were inspecting the work prior to its installation into exhibition and discovered the problem.
“Quick action by National Library experts and Victoria Gill, a contracted textile conservator, undoubtedly saved this rare piece of Australian history from further decay and will ensure its survival for future generations to appreciate,” Ms Schwirtlich said.
Despite the scare, the exhibition opened last week to celebrate Canberra’s Centenary by putting a human face on the prize-winning architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin.
The exhibition traces their life and work of the couple, which saw Walter enter the international competition to design Australia’s capital with help from his wife who provided the drawings for his vision.
Much of the exhibition material has never been seen in public before as the NLA only acquired its large collection from the family of the Griffins’ Australian partner, Eric Milton Nicholls in 2006.
Guest Curator, Christopher Vernon said it was “astonishing in size, scope and complexity”.
“It covers some 40 years and comprises more than 2,500 items, including original drawings, maps, blueprints, photographs and lantern slides,” Associate Professor Vernon said.
“There are also preliminary sketches, scrawled annotations, newspaper cuttings, correspondence and all manner of paperwork from an architectural office.”
The free exhibition will run at the Library in Canberra until 10 June.
Edition 352, 12 March 2013