Summary

Barbara Ramsden Award Master Plaque 1971 (AD), designed by Andor Mészáros.

Barbara Ramsden MBE (1903-1971) was a talented and formidable editor, and the backbone of Melbourne University Press for many years. As an editor she oversaw the publication of such important works as the early volumes of Manning Clark's A History of Australia and the Australian Dictionary of Biography. After her death in 1971, the Australian Federation of Writers started this award in her honour. Designed by noted medallist Andor Mészáros, it recognises excellence in writing and editing of an Australian book. The award ran from 1971 to 1992, then was revived in 2006. This is the master plaque, which remained with the Federation; a half-size copy was presented to each of the award winners.

Physical Description

A rectangular silver plated plaque mounted on a wooden base (240 * 300 mm) featuring at left a woman, sitting, telling a story to five children standing and kneeling before her; at right a person, sitting facing away, points to aboriginal cave art.

Obverse Description

At left a woman, sitting, tells a story to five children standing and kneeling before her; at right a person, sitting facing away, points to aboriginal cave art; at top left, 'BARBARA RAMSDEN / AWARD F.A.W.'; at lower right, incuse, 'ANDOR MESZAROS 1971'.

Reverse Description

Wooden panel with four screws.

Significance

For over half a century, sculptors Andor (1900-1973) and Michael (1945- ) Meszaros have created medals that reflect the high points of life in Australia. From major awards and portraits of eminent Australians to artwork celebrating popular culture and the natural world, these objects illuminate our culture and history. Grounded in a centuries-old European art tradition, the medals create connections across disciplines and link such diverse subjects as scientific advances, religious themes, sport, the performing arts and motherhood. Through their public and private commissions and their personal artworks, the Meszaros sculptors have defined the modern Australian medal.

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