The spirit of light
Title page for The great breath

Born Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia 1894, died Melbourne 1954


Christian Waller was a printmaker, book illustrator and stained glass window designer. She trained at the School of Mines, Castlemaine and Bendigo, and at the National Gallery schools under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin (1909–14).

Inspired by medieval art and art nouveau, the prints she produced during 1931–32 are amongst her best work. Following this period she pursued a new stylistic direction that reflected the popularity of the art deco aesthetic of the time.1

The spirit of light was the first page of The great breath (1932), a finely crafted, handmade artist book that included seven linoblock prints, each an image representing the spiritual journey of man. Printed in 1932 on Waller’s 1849 hand printing press, the images combined her interests in theosophy, astrology, Egyptian art and Greek mythology.

The book was exhibited at Everyman’s Lending Library, Melbourne in April 1932, and a copy was purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria that year.


1 The Art of Christian Waller, (exhibition catalogue), Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, 1992.