This stamp issue draws together two of Australia’s leading mid–late 20th-century visual artists – Margaret Olley AC (1923–2011) and John Perceval AO (1923–2000) – representing them through still-life paintings. The stamp issue commemorates the centenary of their births and recognises the significant artistic legacy each has gifted to Australia’s cultural heritage.

Still lifes and interior scenes were centre stage in the work of Margaret Olley, who had a career of more than 60 years. Floral bouquets, precisely arranged fruit and ceramic objects, and evocative domestic settings all capture the intimate texture of her everyday life, recorded brilliantly in oils and acrylics. A consummate portraitist, the artist herself can be seen in several of her paintings, perhaps reflected in a mirror or otherwise positioned unobtrusively. Olley’s carefully composed scenes – strikingly coloured and yet calm in their considered expression – have always made her works popular with critics and the public alike. Olley was also the subject of two Archibald Prize winning portraits.

While Olley was primarily a painter of still lifes, John Perceval has greater renown for his landscapes and ceramics, including an intriguing series of ceramic angels, than for his still lifes. In an homage to Van Gogh, however, he painted several iterations of sunflowers, experimenting with colour variation. Recovering from polio as a teenager, Perceval followed his passion for painting by learning from the great European masters through studying their published works in books. Perceval and his likeminded Melbourne contemporaries, including Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Clifton Pugh, rebelled against the traditionalists and were members of the counter-establishment Contemporary Art Society. A leading Australian painter of landscapes during the 1950s and 1960s, Perceval produced his critically acclaimed Williamstown Series and Gaffney Creek Landscapes in the 1950s. In 1960, he was joint winner of the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape art, with the painting titled Dairy Farm.

Technical specifications

Issue date
6 June 2023
Issue withdrawal date
1 January 2024
$1.20 x 2
Stamp design
Jo Muré, Australia Post Design Studio
Product design
Jo Muré, Australia Post Design Studio
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell 104gsm Red Phos.
Paper: self-adhesive
Securpost MC 90/C-Print 100/P10P
RA Printing
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
26 x 37.5
14.6 x 13.86
Sheet layout
Module of 50 (2 x 25 no design)
FDI Postmark
Murwillumbah NSW 2484
FDI withdrawal date
5 July 2023

Stamps in this issue

$1.20 Margaret Olley, Winter Flowers

Margaret Olley, Winter Flowers, 1964, oil on board, 74.8 × 59 cm, private collection, courtesy of Smith & Singer Fine Art. © Philip Bacon Gallery

$1.20 John Perceval, Sunflowers

John Perceval, Sunflowers, undated, oil on canvas, 46 × 35.5 cm, Jreissati Family Collection. © Celia Perceval. Photo: Don Gathercole

Shop our stamp collectables

Set of stamps:

Set of Margaret Olley and John Perceval Gummed Stamps

This set of stamps contains the two stamps from the Still-life Paintings: Margaret Olley and John Perceval stamp issue.

Stamp pack:

Margaret Olley and John Perceval Stamp Pack

The Still-life Paintings: Margaret Olley and John Perceval stamp pack contains the two stamps from the stamp issue presented in a high-quality folder.

Booklet of 10:

Booklet of 10x $1.20 Margaret Olley Stamps

This booklet contains 10x $1.20 Margaret Olley self-adhesive stamps from the Still-life Paintings: Margaret Olley and John Perceval stamp issue.

Maxicard set:

Set of Margaret Olley and John Perceval Maxicards

This maxicard set contains the two maxicards from the Still-life Paintings: Margaret Olley and John Perceval stamp issue. 

Additional collectables:

This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.