#Nolan 100

No 84. Paradise Garden - David Oliver

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No 84. Paradise Garden - David Oliver

Evening bonfire

Faces of love are burning

     and many shining toys

     surrender their sheen,

     no more art

     so no more shame,

     and as for Troy

     better dead

     than quick with such a queen. [1]

“In 1993 I had a small studio where I painted as an artist in the basement of a gallery in Cork St, Mayfair, London, opposite Alan Cristea’s print gallery. One day there was a terrible flood and Alan came across and gave me a pile of books that were all water damaged - I think because I am Australian and he thought I would like them. There were more than 30 copies of Paradise Garden by Sidney Nolan.

Published in 1971 by Alistair McAlpine, Paradise Garden was the most beautiful book full of paintings, poems and ‘pictographs’ on transparent pages. In his introduction, Robert Melville says “It should be called a bestiary of wild flowers, for these specimens are the gorgons…griffons…phoenixes of the plant world.” The poems concern a painter and a female patron – “a beautiful and gracious destructive force… a necessary evil”[2].

The book is, in my view, still one of the most beautiful and emotive works of art that does not fail to move my heartstrings as the reader today.

Many years later, in 2008, I stayed with McAlpine in Puglia, Italy and we discussed the book and Sidney at great length. Alistair recalled many wonderful stories about dinner with Sidney at the Wolesley in Piccadilly and elsewhere.  He certainly knew Nolan very well as a patron, publisher and close friend.  I recently bought my own olive oil estate in Puglia and it is still a great privilege to visit Alistair’s widow Athena there and see so many of Sidney's original works hanging the length of the library.”

     Bunch of wild flowers

     The word itself

     was sharp enough

     I felt my arm cut off,

     but gathered

     a posy,

     losing the

     other arm

     on giving it. [3]


David Oliver is an Australian artist specialising in interiors, travel, portrait and fashion. He is the author of 'Paint & Paper in Decoration' which was shortlisted 2008 RIBA Book Awards. He founded Paint & Paper Library in 1995 with Sophie Grattan-Bellew and worked for twenty years as Managing & Creative Director. He continues to design David Oliver Fabric & Wallpaper lines with Dara Caponigro, Creative Director of F.Schumacher Inc. New York. www.DavidOliverPhotographer.com

Sidney Nolan, Paradise Garden: paintings, poems and drawings, introduction by Robert Melville, 1971, 114pp, published by R. Alistair McAlpine Publishing Ltd. © Sidney Nolan Trust. 

[1] Sidney Nolan, Paradise Garden

[2]  Robert Melville, Introduction to Paradise Garden

[3] Sidney Nolan, Paradise Garden 

No.1 - Four Abstracts - Alexander Downer

No.2 - Self Portrait - Angus Trumble

No.3 - Arabian Tree - Kendrah Morgan

No.4 Riverbend I - Francine Stock

No.5 - Desert - Andrew Logan

No.6 Dog and Duck - Jane Clark

No.7 Vivisector - Tim Abdallah

No.8 In the Cave - Rebecca Daniels

No.9 Young Soldier - Clare Woods

No.10 Ned Kelly - Shaun Gladwell

No.11 Bird - Deborah Ely

No. 12 Hare in Trap - Nicholas Usherwood

No.13 Untitled (Catani Arch, St Kilda) - David Rainey

No.14 Death of a Poet - Simon Martin

No.15 Study for Samson et Dalila - Elijah Moshinsky

No.16 Rimbaud at Harar - Edmund Capon AM OBE

No.17 Quilting the Armour - Jackie Haliday

No.18 Snake - David Walsh

No.19 Angel and the Tree - Dr Nicky McWilliam

No.20 Brian the Stockman at Wave Hill Mounting a Dead Horse - Damian Smith

No.21 Steve Hart Dressed as a Girl -Jennifer Higgie

No.22 Women and Billabong - Anthony Plant

No.23 Agricultural Hotel - Philip Mead

No.24 Policeman in a Wombat Hole - Kay Whitney

No.25 Peter Grimes - David Lipsey

No.26 Self Portrait in Youth - Barry Pearce & Duncan Fallowell

No.27 Riverbend I - Ian Dungavell

No.28 Drowned Soldier at Anzac as Icarus - Paul Gough

No.29 Thames - John Tooley

No.30 Girl - Amelda Langslow

No.31 Ned Kelly and Policeman - Daniel Crawshaw

No.32 Tarred and Feathered - Nick Cave

No.33 Self Portrait - Denise Mimmocchi

No.34 Peter Grimes's Apprentice - George Vass

No.35 The Emu Hunt - Roger Law

No.36 Luna Park - Paula Dredge

No.37 Rose in Coffee Pot - Anthony Collier

No.38 The Cardplayers - Nevin Jayawardena

No.39 Bathers - Lesley Harding

No.40 Aboriginal Girl - Jennie Milne

No.41 Pretty Polly Mine - Michael Brand

No 42. Roses in a Merric Boyd Vase - Jack Galloway

No 43. Brett Whiteley - Jonathan Watkins

No 44. Island - Nick Yelverton

No 45. Luna Park - Bill Granger

No 46. Face of the Damned - Kate McMillan

No 47. Central Australia - Leanne Santoro

No 48. Crane - Brian Adams

No 49. Myself - Simon Mundy

No 50. Going to Work, Rising Sun Hotel, 1948 - David Ferry

No 51. Figure at Harar - Andrew Turley

No 52, Greek Figures - Simon Pierse

No 53. Randolph Stow - Suzanne Falkiner

No 54. Landscape No.27 (Convalescence) - Suzanne Falkiner

No 55. Self portrait - Oliver McCall

No 56. McMurdo Sound - Mike Clements

No 57. Faun, Woman, Rider, Horse - Mark Fraser

No 58. Season in Hell (Benjamin Britten) - Anne Bean

No 59. The Slip - Humphrey Ocean

No 60. Central Australia - Chris Drury

No 61. Riverbend - Christina Slade

No 62. Head - Celia Johnson

No 63. Myth Rider - Desmond Browne

No 64. Stockman - Bridget McDonnell

No 65. Untitled (flower) - Roma Piotrowska

No 66. Chinese Landscape - Celia Perceval

No 67. Untitled - Des Hughes

No 68. Crucifixion - Rod Bugg

No 69. Icebergs - Laurence Hall

No 70. Bather in a Lily Pool - Amanda Fitzwilliams

No 71. Breaks like the Atlantic Ocean on my head - Michael Berkeley

No 72. Carcase in Swamp - Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

No 73. Ern Malley - Isabella Boorman

No 74. Mrs Reardon at Glenrowan - Adrian Kelly

No 75. Landscape Carnarvon Range, Queensland - Catherine Noske

No 76. Abraham and Isaac - Sarah Bardwell

No 77. Rosa Mutabilis - Catherine Hunter

No 78. Artist drawing nude - Victoria Lynn

No 79. Boy and the moon - Natalie Wilson

NO 80. Explorer and Township - Helen Idle

No 81. All Tastes Like Dust in the Mouth... - Carolyn Leder

No 82. Young Boy Who Was Good at Latin - Roxy Shaw

No 83. Mrs Fraser - Anne Carter

No 84. Paradise Garden - David Oliver

No 85. Leda and the Swan - Marilyn Sweet

No 86. Burke and Wills at the Gulf - Jenny Watson

No 87. Dream of the latrine sitter - Ryan Johnston

No 88. Footballer - Gerard Vaughan

NO 89. Sketch for Ned Kelly - Amanda Fuller

NO 90. Woman in Lagoon - Jinx Nolan

No 91. Cherries in a bowl - Peter Blake

No 92. Fountain - Heywood Hill

No 93. Artist and painting - Charles Nodrum

No 94. Death of Constable Scanlon - Anita Taylor

No 95. Untitled (abstract) - David Jaffe

No 96. Digital image - Joe Studholme

No 97. Seated figure and bird - Sally Aitken

No 98. Burke and Wills expedition 'Gray sick' - Gary Sangster

No 99. Kangaroo at Ayers Rock - Pru and Anthony Napolitano

No 100. The Galaxy - Elizabeth Langslow

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