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Margaret Clark

Margaret Clark Federation Fairies Australian Museum of Design
Margaret Clark Federation Fairies Australian Museum of Design
Margaret Clark Federation Fairies Australian Museum of Design

Margaret Clark

Margaret Clark, an acclaimed Australian illustrator, brought whimsy and charm to life through her enchanting ‘Federation Fairies’ series. Created in the early 1900’s, her illustrations captured the free spirit and magic of fairies, set against the backdrop of the Australian bush. Clark’s delicate and intricate work reflects a blend of European folklore and Australian flora and fauna, giving the fairies a unique identity rooted in the nation’s cultural heritage.

Margaret was employed exclusively by Sweetacres, the Confectionery and Chocolate business when she was 17 years old. The facial expressions illuminated by her dainty pen work was considered genius. She had a pure natural aptitude for colour. In all her work she never makes the inartistic error of over-colouring and more remarkable still, she is a child of nature in that she never associates colours inharmoniously. Her mind illuminates her own fancies and their colouring. Her hand translates both into the beautiful little fantasies which are entirely her own. No two of her drawings are alike with no limitation to the range of her conceptions, her imagery and colouring are unique to her style.

Her work is full of such tiny touches and similar detailed whimsicalities. This versatility of fancy and capacity for infinite detail and imagery make up the charm and attraction of Margaret Clark’s beautiful craft.

Vivien Kells, Clark’s niece, has dedicated herself to preserving the ‘Federation Fairies’ series. Kells has meticulously maintained a vast collection of Clark’s original hand-drawn art, safeguarding its legacy. Through her efforts, the historical and artistic value of Clark’s work has been documented and conserved.

The Australian Museum of Design now houses the ‘Federation Fairies’ collection, allowing Clark’s work to engage and inspire new audiences. This inclusion honours her contribution to the visual arts and celebrates her status as a significant figure in Australia’s artistic heritage.

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