Art & Design Thursday, January 19th Words by: Mark Bowen

Sidney Nolan at 100: artist's Herefordshire studio to open in centenary year

Art & Design Thursday, January 19th

Sidney Nolan at 100: artist's Herefordshire studio to open in centenary year

This could be the year Sidney Nolan's UK reputation is revived.

Throughout 2017 the Australian artist, who lived his final years near Presteigne on the Herefordshire border, will be remembered with events that mark 100 years since his birth.

The centenary celebrations aim to show the many facets of an extraordinary artist whose work, especially his paintings of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, hang pride of place in national galleries around the world.

Despite once being one of the 20th century's most iconic artists, Nolan's reputation has dimmed in the UK with the passing of time.

The Sidney Nolan Trust - based at Nolan's former home studio, The Rodd, near Presteigne - has long welcomed artists and students eager to learn more. It has championed his work while the studio itself, untouched since Nolan's death in 1992, still bears witness to his endless urge to experiment and desire to work quickly.

On May 27, that studio will open permanently to the public for the first time, offering real insight into what inspired Nolan in his final years.

Further afield, there will be a major new exhibition at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. Curated by art historian Dr Rebecca Daniels, the Transferences exhibition will feature Nolan's most famous work - his stylised paintings of Ned Kelly that today hold iconic status in Australia - while charting his time living and working in Britain.

nolan nedkelly1946series

SidneyNolan NedKellySeries group

Above: work from Nolan's Ned Kelly series (1946 onwards)

On Australia Day - January 26, 2017 - an Instagram project, The Nolan 100, will go live. Celebrating the scope of Nolan's work, 100 individuals have each chosen a piece of work and offered up personal reflections on its significance. You'll be able to view The Nolan 100 via the Sidney Nolan Trust website and Instagram.  

From April 21 to May 5, the Australian High Commission in London will host Unseen, an exhibition of work that's never been shown before alongide four large-scale spray-painted abstracts, that were Nolan's final major works.

There'll also be symposiums at King’s College and the Royal Academy of Arts, London; a talk by Simon Mundy, Nolan's friend and biographer, at Highgate Cemetery, London; an exhibition of spray painted portraits at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; an exhibition at Oriel Y Parc, St David's; and an exhibition of Nolan’s ‘Back of Beyond’ drawings, in which he confronts the horrors of the Australian drought at The British Museum, London.

For more info on the centenery programme, head to or follow the trust @SidneyNolanTrst.

You can contact The Rodd directly on 01544 260149 and

Soldiers1968Above: Soldiers (1968)

800px Sidney Nolan Snake

Above: The Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania was built to accommodate Nolan's Snake (1970–72), a giant Rainbow Serpent mural made of 1,620 individual paintings. Photo by jeffowensphotos, via Flickr.

Myself 1988 Above: Myself, a self-portrait of Nolan.

Read more: Andrew Sayers explores the self-portraits created by Australian artist Sidney Nolan - National Portrait Gallery

Read more: The Ned Kelly series gallery - National Gallery of Australia


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