#NOLAN100 - NO.91

Cherries in a bowl, c.1978

Sir Peter Blake RA

“I first met Sid in the early 1960s when he lived on the river in Putney.  I had dinner with him, Arthur Boyd, Charles Carey, who lived next door, and Cynthia, Sid’s wife, who could appear rather fierce at times. Sid had a gigantic reputation then and I had known his works from exhibitions. Years later, I visited him with my wife, Chrissy, when he lived in a flat in Whitehall.  He told us he lived there so could get to the Festival Hall every night, as he was passionate about music and theatre. Sid was a real character. He was famous among artists for carrying about a large wad of cash.  Younger artists were so surprised by this they ended up nicknaming a roll of cash ‘a Sidney’!

When Sid died he was given a full send off by the Royal Academy, a service at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, followed by a reception. Sid had requested that only artists carry his coffin and so I was a pall-bearer as was his great friend, Gordon House. Gordon and Sid shared a deep love of Wales. I curated a group of Sid’s works for a memorial exhibition that was included in the 1993 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I went back to his Whitehall flat with his then wife, Mary, and looked through the works he had there. I was struck by the large number of early works from Australia he had kept. He must have brought these over with him when he moved to England. I chose two early works from that time, Hare in Trap and Dog and Duck Hotel as they were so unusual. I was also struck by three still life paintings, one of which is illustrated here.”

Sir Peter Blake CBE RDI RA. 

Sidney Nolan died in London 25 years ago, on 28th November 1992. 

Sidney Nolan at The Rodd, 1992, 

Sidney Nolan, Cherries in a bowl, c.1978, 122 x 91.5 cm, Ripolin on board. Collection of the Sidney Nolan Trust. © Sidney Nolan Trust.

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