Welcome to my page of heritage house portraits

After a successful exhibition, A Place to Call Home at the Art Space on The Concourse, Chatswood, 24 April-05 May 2024, I am proud to put my catalogue of paintings up for sale now. See below for the full list of items from the show, including details on each house and location.

Scan code to order your catalogue today $30.00 including postage. You will be directed to Paypal.me/martamadison.

Or, you can use PayID 0419251705.

Somewhere in every human heart lives an old house.

Since 2020, I have embarked on a series of watercolour portraits of Federation, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts style homes in NSW and Victoria. This fascination with heritage houses came about during a walk around Crows Nest, Willoughby and Cammeray in 2020. I am proud to host an exhibition of my house portraits which I painted over a period of three years.

Houses are important gathering places, giving us a secure sense of where we are today and where we have come from. Old buildings and their surroundings share a mutual history. It’s one reason preservationists like historic districts and neighborhoods: the presence of houses of compatible design and comparable age, in near-original settings, enhances a neighbourhood as a whole, giving us a glimpse of aesthetic trends and how things have changed. This is the reason heritage houses are important and why they matter. We need to preserve these homes.

The tradition of artistic depictions of private homes normally commissioned by landowners to show their status, has been popular for centuries and remains an important historical reference of early architectural styles. Marta is carrying on the tradition of heritage home artist and this solo exhibition will showcase 25 paintings and drawings, sketches and artifacts from her research and practice.

When settlers arrived in Australia from the UK, they brough this tradition and it became an important source of income for many early NSW colonial artists, such as Eugène von Guérard, Louis Buvelot, William Tibbits, Conrad Martens, Nicholas Chevalier and Thomas Clark. The pictorial legacy left by the 19th century house portrait artists not only demonstrates the origins of Australian artistic patronage, but also provides an insight into the cultural and social aspirations of successful colonial landowners.

These houses, primarily built in the Federation and Queen Anne styles, also reflected the tastes and talents of the British and European tradespeople and architects who arrived here in the 1800s. There are many wonderful examples throughout Australian.”

This project has brought me so much joy, allowing me to spend time with the current owners, learning about the histories of the houses, how they were lovingly restored and what the houses mean to them. Recordings of homeowners reliving their journey from dereliction (in some cases) to award-winning renovation. It is fascinating to listen to their stories of how they came to acquire the homes and the hurdles they faced as they tried to realise the dream of restoring them to their current glory.

Each artwork is A3 size and shows the front facade of each house as seen at street level. Descriptions of each house painting are available in an extensively researched catalogue which visitors can purchase. I will be available during the exhibition as artist-in-residence, to greet visitors and talk about my journey as a heritage artist and impart the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my time researching the homes.

I hope to inspire a deeper appreciation of heritage houses within the community and start a dialogue on why these houses matter. My thanks to The National Trust who were invaluable support during the mounting of this event in conjunction with the Australian Heritage Festival, as it happily resides inside NSW Heritage Month,18 Apr-19 May 2024.

Proudly part of NSW Heritage Festival, 2024.

Would you like a personalised house portrait as a gift or for yourself?

Please email marta@drawntofashion.com.au or ring 0419251705 and I will get back to you personally to discuss your requirements. All portraits are $400.00. Hi res prints are $100 plus $10.00 postage and take four weeks.

Sydney House heritage watercolour Megan Hess Illustrator Marta


Listen to homeowners talk about their homes and how they lovingly renovated them in the recordings below. These devotees of heritage architecture have a world of knowledge of early buildings and I invite you to listen to their passion and knowledge and why it is such a privilege to have painted these houses.

Marbar, Kirribilli

Listen to Marbar’s owner talk about the amazing finds under his house during the 2004 renovations.

Belmont, Hornsby

Listen to owner Max Lowery talking about his treasured house, Belmont, in Hornsby, one of the houses in my exhibition.

Mahogany, originally in Mosman, now in Mudgee

Watch as Mahogany, 22 Milner St, Mosman, is hoisted on a trailer and taken to it’s new home in Mudgee.


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