Sidney Nolan's Studio at the Rodd

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Sidney Nolan's last studio, housed in the seventeenth-century barns at The Rodd and left untouched since his death in 1992.

Born in Australia, Sir Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) became celebrated for his paintings of historical and legendary figures, most famously the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. He moved to the UK in the 1950s, and to The Rodd, with his wife, in 1983. Initially, he worked in a room in the house that had plastic on the floor and shelves to store his paints, but when the smell of spray paint and other painting materials became too much, Nolan was sent out to work in the barns. This studio became both his working and storage space, and the shelves still evidence his extraordinarily varied and eclectic painting materials, including the new 'white glue', polyvinyl acetate (PVA), which he had been among a small number of artists to adopt in the 1950s. The squeegees and foam applicators he used to apply these paints are also still visible in the studio.

Nolan's choice of paintings materials was driven by a need for his paints to dry fast. One favourite fast-drying paint was Ripolin, whose fluid nature meant it needed to be painted flat on the table or floor, a method that Nolan preferred throughout his life. To get a distance view of the work in progress, not possible when the work was lying flat, he used binoculars turned the wrong way round. However, Nolan used the larger adjacent barn, now the Sidney Nolan Gallery, when he was working on big canvases, which partially explains the cramped and utilitarian nature of this space. Other items, among over a thousand in evidence in the studio, include Ripolin household paint, stocks of dry pigment, alkyd gel medium, cans of spray paint and brushes, rags, crates and books, but also his Vickers machine gun case, rolls of film, spare light bulbs, and some large tubes of oil paint handmade by fellow expatriate artist, and Nolan's brother-in-law, Arthur Boyd.

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Sidney Nolan Trust
The Rodd
Presteigne, Herefordshire
United Kingdom


01544 260 149


Plan your visit
Opening times:

Friday 19 April - 29 September 2019

Wednesday to Friday 11am - 4.30pm

Satuday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 12pm - 4.30pm

Monday and Tuesday Closed

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