Richard Catt, Chair of the Sidney Nolan Trust, and the Board of Trustees are delighted to announce that Rodd Court, Sir Sidney Nolan’s last home, has been saved for the nation. 

Having been accepted by the Government through the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) Scheme, the Grade II* listed early manor house at the heart of our estate has been transferred to the Trust, ensuring that it is safe for future generations.

Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said:

“Sir Sidney Nolan was a magnificent artist whose work is known across the world. I am delighted that, through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme, we will preserve Nolan's residence, within his adopted home, for the benefit of the nation. It is also excellent news that the Sidney Nolan Trust will now open the house to the public for the first time, alongside its existing gallery, studio and programme of exhibitions.

"By acquiring Nolan's last home, we will firmly establish a resource for research, and develop an artistic centre dedicated to one of the most experimental and leading artists of the twentieth century". 

Photo: Anthony Plant, Fellow of the Sidney Nolan Trust; Edward Harley DL, OBE, Chair of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel; The Dowager Countess of Darnley, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire; Richard Catt, Chair of the Sidney Nolan Trust, with the keys to Rodd Court, 18 September 2018.

Edward Harley, Chairman of the AIL Panel commented:

“I am delighted that Sir Sidney Nolan’s house, Rodd Court, has been secured for the future through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. This is a major heritage and cultural attraction for the West Midlands and Mid-Wales and will be a significant boost to the visitor economy of the area.”

Richard Catt, Chair of the Sidney Nolan Trust, welcomed the announcement:

“We are extremely pleased at the successful outcome of the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. The Trust already plays an important role in regional and national creative networks, with a clear focus on tackling marginalisation in the arts and providing opportunities for those who would otherwise have limited or no access to the arts and the land. Acquiring Rodd Court reunites the original estate and enables the Trust that Sidney and Mary founded to progress plans to fully realise their vision for it.

“We have already secured financial support from the Architectural Heritage Fund and will be seeking significant further funding to implement our master plan. We are working to conserve and adapt the land and buildings in our care in order to improve and create new facilities to enhance the artistic and cultural opportunities and experiences we are able to offer. Building upon our respected and highly successful creative and learning programmes, we intend to firmly establish The Rodd as a major arts facility bridging the English Midlands and Mid Wales, allowing us to further enrich the artistic and cultural life of these rural areas.”

Rodd Court includes Nolan’s library, his extensive collection of books and exhibition catalogues from throughout his career, as well as his ‘thinking room’.

In this study, he read and wrote, listened to music and conceived his next painting project. When he was ready to paint, he crossed the yard to the set of ancient barns which he adopted as his studio and gallery and which now serve as the home of the Trust.  The house dates from the early 17th century and has remained largely unaltered over its 400 year history. It retains an elaborate plaster ceiling, panelled rooms, mullioned windows, several very fine carved overmantels, orchards and gardens. In 1983, after the death of Lord Rennell of Rodd, a descendent of the original owner of the estate, it was sold to Sidney and Mary who went on to establish the Sidney Nolan Trust.

The Trust’s future plans for Rodd Court include guided tours for visitors of the heritage and gardens as well as of the rooms used by Nolan for his creative processes; public events, talks and recitals; facilities for academic research and for the storage and conservation of the Trust’s Nolan Collection and Archive; meeting rooms and facilities for local arts and community organisations; a base for Friends and volunteers; a café; and a location for income generating activities including functions, weddings, photo and film shoots.

Essential maintenance work will be undertaken in the house this winter. We are planning a series of events starting in Spring 2019 to allow the public a first viewing of this historically and culturally important asset. To keep up with our news subscribe to our email list and follow us on social media.

Brian Adams, biographer, Sidney Nolan, Alistair McAlpine, Mary Nolan, Gwyn Caulfield holding Whoppa, c1986

Photos of Rodd Court, top and right, by Alex Ramsay.

Sidney and Mary Nolan outside the library at The Rodd.

If you are interested in supporting our development plans please contact the Trust office.