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2002/105/1 Archive, signwriting and graphic design, Rousel Studios, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c 1886-1983. Click to enlarge.

Rousel Studios signwriting and graphic design archive

The archive is a significant record of the work of an important Sydney signwriting and graphic design studio.

Signwriting and associated graphic trades including gilding, silvering and glass etching developed strong craft consciousness and traditions during the 1800s. With the expansion of advertising markets and media during the twentieth century, the signwriting industry absorbed new influences from fine art and the decorative arts. Notable in the case of Rousel Studios was the role of …


Object No.


Object Statement

Archive, signwriting and graphic design, Rousel Studios, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c 1886-1983

Physical Description

An archive documenting the signwriting and other graphic work of Rousel Studios, which also traded as Henry Rousel, Rousel Signs and Rousel Screen Printing.

The archive consists of an album of photographs of Rousel's work during the 1920s, plus numerous other photographs of the studio's work during this and later periods. It also includes two sets of glass negatives of the Studio's work.

The archive includes a ledger detailing the Studio's clients, work and income during the early 1920s, plus other business records including a record of workers' wages. The archive includes large format glass negatives of a small number of works and a photograph of the Studio's staff about 1930.

A framed portrait photograph of Henry Rousel, founder of the Studio, is included.



Henry Rousel (1865-1929) established the Rousel signwriting studio in 1890. From 1912 to 1974 Rousel Studios was located at 38 Oxford Street, East Sydney.

About 1918 the Rousel studio added the process of screen printing to its signwriting skills, enabling it to offer clients a range of graphic possibilities. The 1920s and 1930s were the high point of Rousel Studios, with the studio employing 26 tradesmen and artists during most of this time. After Henry Rousel's death in 1929 his sons Roy and Harold successively managed the business, which during the 1940s also began producing illuminated signs.

In 1974 the signwriting business was sold, although it continued as Rousel Signs for some years. Rousel Screen Printing remained in business until 2002.

The donor of this archive, Ron Rousel is a grandson of Henry Rousel, and became a partner in the firm during the 1940s until its closure.


Credit Line

Gift of Ron Rousel, 2002

Acquisition Date

10 September 2002

Cite this Object


Rousel Studios signwriting and graphic design archive 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


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