Hardy Wilson's Peking text over a sketch of a building in Peking

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