Artists statement

Margaret Picken (1950-) trained and worked as a cartographic draftsman from 1968-1975 within the mining industry. These skills were readily transferable to work as a property illustrator for the real estate industry. Process: “Sketches were ordered by phone initially as there were no mobile phones or computers then. I would take our 2 year-old son with me to the houses when the other 2 boys were at school. I photographed houses with a Polaroid camera and made a ‘thumbnail’ sketch while there. The photos were used to scale off a sketch in pencil and then that sketch was overlaid with drafting film and the ‘pen and ink’ was completed. This process was the only one I used the entire time. Polaroid photos gave an instant usable photo. I then delivered the sketches by hand to the offices. There were deadlines each week on a Tuesday.” “… about 2003 coloured photos began to take over the sketches and mainstream companies replaced sole traders like myself providing a one-stop shop for all advertising. I produced my last Real Estate sketches in late 2005.”

Historical information

Margaret Picken (1950-) trained and worked as a cartographic draftsman from 1968-1975 within the mining industry. This architectural drawing is one of a series created by Margaret Picken for a range of real estate agents in Melbourne between 1983 and 2005. Each work is signed and dated. Margaret Picken approached a number of historical societies in July 2020 with a view to donating her work. Sketches for post code 3127 arefheld by this collection. Others for suburbs including Ashburton, Balwyn, Camberwell, Canterbury, Blackburn, Box Hill, Burwood, Glen Iris, Hawthorn, Kew, Mont Albert North and Nunawading have been donated to the relevant historical group in those suburbs. (See Balwyn Historical Society, Box Hill Historical Society, Camberwell Historical Society, Hawthorn Historical Society, Kew Historical Society, Whitehorse Historical Society). In some cases, this collection also has a copy of the matching newspaper advertisement.

Physical description

Pen and ink architectural drawing on drafting film of 11 Agnes Street, Surrey Hills (VIC) by Margaret Picken. The drawing, dated 1990, was commissioned by the Woodards real estate company.