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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.

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.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Bronwyn Wright 2013
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2013.62

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Hilda Rix Nicholas (age 29 in 1913)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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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.