Cedric Emanuel was one of the most productive and versatile of Australian artists. He has major importance as a visual historian. For almost seventy years he sketched and painted the rapidly changing scenes of Australia from the outback to the inner suburbs of Sydney. This provides a unique historical record that may be equaled by some photographic collections, though not by any single person.
Cedric trained in the ‘roaring twenties’ and had vivid memories of many legendary figures in the art world such as William Dobell, Elioth Gruner, Sydney Long, Dattilo Rubbo, Julian Ashton and the Lindsays. The twenties were starting to burn out by the time he started work. Despite the adverse economic circumstances he made a highly successful career in commercial art and pursued his serious commitment to sketching, painting and etching in his spare time. His etchings received high critical acclaim at his first exhibition in 1938; the National Gallery of NSW purchased two and another won the etching section of the Sesqui-Centenary Art Awards.