Georgiana Houghton, Spiritualist Artist presented by Jeff Stewart

September 24, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Join us for a book launch and talk on Georgiana Houghton, A Gift from Spirit: a catalogue of works held at the Victorian Spiritualists’ Union. Edited and contributions by Daylesford’s own Jeff Stewart and designed by Ian Robinson.

Georgiana Houghton (1814–1884), was an English artist and a Spiritualist. She attended her first séance in 1859 at the age of forty-five, and began guided water colour and gouache drawing in July 1861, creating what are now recognized as the first abstract images in contemporary art. The majority of the known works by this remarkable woman are held at the Victorian Spiritualists’ Union in North Melbourne. This book is the first monograph on these paintings ever published. Currently on exhibit at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, these paintings are having a resurgence and have recently travelled to London and Munich.

This beautifully designed, large format, full colour book of 203 pages, contains:

Reproductions of the thirty-five works held by the VSU, with their text verso and those texts transcriptions.

Example pages from Houghton’s 1871 Old Bond Street exhibition catalogue.

Introductions by past VSU president Alan Bennett, and current VSU president Rev Lorraine Lee Tet.

And five informative essays:

Paintings as Proof of Spirit: the VSU and Georgiana Houghton, by Jeff Stewart
A brief history of Spiritualism in Melbourne, with a history of the VSU and what is known of Houghton’s paintings in Australia.

Mediums, Spirits and the Passively Active: Madame Guyon and Georgiana Houghton, by Jeff Stewart
An introduction to Houghton’s way of working using the Quietist Madame Guyon, who Houghton mentions as an influence in helping say her practice.

A Flowering of Spirit: Georgiana Houghton Biography, by Jeff Stewart
A brief biography of Houghton concentrating on her Spiritual practice.

Understanding and Conserving the Artistic work of Georgiana Houghton, by Peter Mitchelson, Lois Waters and Christine Mizzi.

Melbourne University’s Grimwade Conservation Services’ essay on the materials and techniques of Houghton, and the works conservation.

Available at the launch:
Copies of book, $100 each
High quality prints and cards of Georgiana Houghton’s paintings

Price: $5/ $10

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are only releasing 50% of tickets now.

If those restrictions are lifted, we will release the remaining tickets 2 weeks before the festival.

So please don’t wait! If you want to attend, please book early. Thank you!



Daylesford Town Hall
76 Vincent St. Daylesford,
Victoria 3460 Australia


Words in Winter is an annual literary and arts festival held in August each year in the Hepburn Shire and surrounding districts.