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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Self portrait (Hilda in the Chinoise hat)

c. 1913
Hilda Rix Nicholas

pastel and coloured pencil on paper (sheet: 56.0 cm x 38.0 cm)

Emily Hilda Rix (1884-1961), artist, left Australia in March 1907, having trained for three years at the National Gallery School. She, her sister Elsie and their widowed mother Elizabeth proceeded from London – where Hilda studied at the New Art School – to Paris, where she attended art classes at the Académie Delecluse and the Grande Chaumière. She and Elsie spent several exhilarating periods in Tangier, Morocco, where she made many striking paintings and drawings reflecting her passion for costume; and in the artists’ colony of Étaples. Returning to London at the outbreak of the First World War, by 1916 she had lost her sister and her mother to typhoid fever. She married an Australian soldier, George Nicholas, but he was killed in France within weeks of their wedding. She returned to Australia in 1918, settling in Mosman, where she painted gardens and friends around the harbour. An intrepid car traveller, in 1928 she began a new life as the wife of Edgar Wright, owner of the grazing property Knockalong on the southern Monaro. There, she designed a free-standing French-style studio, into which she moved her paintings, drawings, costumes and mementoes of foreign lands; there, into the mid-1940s, she painted high-coloured scenes of the Australia that ‘rode on the sheep’s back’, and the vigorous people who worked the land.

Gift of Bronwyn Wright 2013. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Bronwyn Wright

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Hilda Rix Nicholas (age 29 in 1913)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Bronwyn Wright (1 portrait)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency