Reconciliation Day Public Holiday

All National Library reading rooms will be closed on Reconciliation Day, Monday 28 May.  Regular reading room hours will resume on Tuesday 29 May. See our holiday opening hours for more information.

Hardy Wilson's Peking

Hardy Wilson's Peking

Hardy Wilson's Peking text over a sketch of a building in Peking
2 January 2016 to 22 May 2016,


Treasures Gallery, Ground floor


No booking required

A beautiful collection of detailed pencil drawings by Australian architect William Hardy Wilson (1881-1955), which depict the striking buildings he discovered on his 4 month journey to China in 1921.

Inspired by a growing fascination with China’s culture, Wilson was most impressed by Beijing and its imperial grandeur. After an arduous journey from the coast, Wilson arrived at the city to discover a ‘miracle of loveliness in the sun-scorched plain, shimmering in all the dust and golden glory of a late summer’s afternoon’. He completed a collection of drawings of buildings in the Qing capital on returning home, and developed a lifelong interest in fusing the cultures and aesthetics of West and East in his work.

See the meticulous work of Wilson’s inspired journey in our Treasures Gallery. This Collections-in-Focus exhibition coincided with the Library’s 2016 summer exhibition, Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644–1911.

Exhibition highlights