The best things about this book are the paintings, the photographs, and the paper. The worst thing is the prose. But does this matter, you may well ask, in a book obviously designed to travel rapidly from the coffee table to the wall – with its large size format and convenient disintegration at first read? It’s the pictures we want, not the prose.
Well, back in the 1920s and 1930s when Arthur Streeton was our grandest and oldest gold-and-gum-school-boy this might have been okay. Then everyone was clamouring for those gold and blue landscapes whose open spaces and dreamlike distances were seen as the nationalist ideal, the quintessential Australia.