Canberra Aerial View and Cross Sections

Gimson’s architectural designs for Canberra (Australia) entered into ‘The Federal Capital Design Competition’.

Additional images for this object

Art work details

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Drawings and Designs
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Presented by Emily Gimson in 1919

In 1911/12 the Commonwealth Government of Australia held a competition 'The Federal Capital Design Competition' to find a design for its proposed national capital. By the closing date of the competition (29 February 1912) 137 entries had been received from all over the world including an entry by Ernest Gimson. The winning design was entered by Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin. Gimson’s designs were returned to him and were subsequently presented to Leicester Museums by Emily Gimson in 1919.

While the design was created by Gimson the drawings you see here were executed by Alfred Powell. Powell was a close friend of Gimson and the Barnsleys. He had trained with them as an architect in London in the 1880s. He was also a skilled artist, particularly in watercolour. He and his wife Louise worked as outside decorators of pottery for Wedgwood.

Gimson’s designs for the Canberra competition were his only entries for the 1912 Arts and Crafts Exhibition in London.

You can read about the specifics of Gimson’s entry on the Cornell University website: Urban Planning, 1794-1918: An International Anthology of Articles, Conference Papers, and Reports.

Image 1: Elevation, pencil and watercolour on paper, signed and dated: ‘ERNEST W. GIMSON ARCHT 1911’ (H. 22.3cm; W.133.2cm)

Images 2 & 3: Detail of 1

Image 4: Aerial view, pencil and watercolour on paper, signed and dated: ‘ERNEST W. GIMSON ARCHT 1911’. (H. 68cm; W. 134.6cm)

Image 5: Five cross sections, ink and grey wash on paper. (H. 122cm; W. 141.5cm)