Hilda Rix Nicholas

Hilda Rix Nicholas 1884-1961

Hilda Rix Nicholas first visited the Delegate area in 1922 staying at Craigie and painting local identities and scenes. It was during this visit that she spent time at Tombong and was reaquainted with  Edgar Wright of “Knockalong” who became her future husband.

Hilda Rix Nicholas was born in Ballarat, Victoria and had attended The Gallery School in in Melbourne, before traveling to Paris and London to furthur her studdies. In 1916 she married Major George Matson Nicholas and was widowed 5 weeks later when he was killed in France at the battle of the Somme.

She returned to Australia to recover from the triple tragedy of losing her sister, mother and husband in Europe during World War1.

The work she produced in Australia was exhibited at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy in 1925-6 to great acclaim.

When she returned to Australia after this European success she travelled through NSW & Queensland in 1927 in her small modified car, continuing to paint Australian subjects.

In June 1928 Hilda married Edgar Wright and moved to Knockalong. She lived here until her death in 1961 producing many iconic Australian paintings including The Fair Musterer & The Fleece.

Hilda Rix Nicholas’ paintings are represented in many Australian galleries including the Australian National Gallery and the Art Gallery of NSW.

Hilda’s only child Rix was born in 1930. Rix became a recognised sculptor and continued farming at Knockalong until 2004 when his son and family took over the property. Rix died after a short illness in 2009.

Throughout her life Hilda had many exhibitions of her work. Her most recent solo exhibitiond were at the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2010, a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra celebrating the capital’s centenary in 2013  and at the Mosman Art Gallery in 2014.

The Art of Hilda Rix Nicholas

“The Fleece” 1945  Private collection

“The Fair Musterer” 1935  Queensland Art Gallery

“A Man” 1921  Australian War Memorial

“The Glove” (Une Australienne) 1926  Private collection

“Rix – The artists son” c.1948  Private collection

“In Australia” 1922-23 Musée national d’art moderne, Paris

“Sylvia and friend at Mosman”  c.1921  Private collection?

“Paris Studio” 1925-26  Private collection

“In the Summer House” c.1931  Newcastle Art Gallery


“Edgar Percy Wright”  c1942,  Private collection

“Edgar Percy Wright”  c.1928,  Private collection

“Frank Nicholas – Hindhead”  1917   Private collection

“Rix asleep” 1937  Private collection






An Exceptional Woman” The National Library Magazine : March 2010

Just the man for the job” The AGE newspaper : January 23, 2010

Books on Hilda Rix Nixholas

Hilda Rix Nicholas: her life Hilda Rix Nicholas - John Pigotand art

Authur: John Pigot.

Published: Carlton South, Vic.  Miegunyah Press, 2000.

ISBN: 0522848907, 9780522848908

“Hilda Rix Nicholas was an accomplished artist who set out to carve a place for herself alongside the most important male painters in Australia between the wars. She painted several important pictures of women in the bush, and dared to suggest that women had been equal partners in the formation of the nation.” “Her achievements were impressive: she held several solo exhibitions in Europe and Australia, and in 1926 was elected an associate of the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. But despite these accomplishments she has been virtually ignored by art historians and her work has often been excluded from and marginalised in the writing of Australian art history.”

In Search of Beauty: Hilda Rix Nicholas’ Sketchbook Art

Author:   Johnson, Karen
Publisher:   National Library of Australia
ISBN:   9780642277527 Pages:   160
Publication Date:   01 October 2012


Like so many Australian women artists of her era, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884–1961) has been rediscovered by contemporary art historians. For the first time, In Search of Beauty showcases her two sketchbooks held by the National Library of Australia.

The child of a creative Melbourne household, Hilda was always with pencil in hand, persuading obliging cousins and neighbours to pose for her. Travelling to Europe in 1907, she trained at some of the finest studios in London and Paris. The experience would not only help the young student to develop her artistic skills but would also nurture a lifetime love of capturing the essence of Australia on canvas. Studies from her early years in Melbourne and in Europe provide glimpses into Hilda’s coming of age.

In Search of Beauty features page after page of glorious, full-colour works of art, introduced by a thoughtful biography of the artist.

Karen Johnson is a Manuscripts Librarian at the National Library of Australia, where she enjoys working with collections of papers of prominent Australians.

Moroccan  Idyll

Author: Jeanette Hoorn

Format: Paperback / softback

Published: Carlton, Vic. : Miegunyah Press, December 2012.

ISBN: 9780522851014

Hilda Rix Nicholas’s Moroccan oils are fascinating early experiments in the post impressionist technique learned by the Australian artist in the ateliers of Belle Èpoque Paris of Henri Matisse. But they are not the only legacy of the time she spent in Tangier in 1912 and 1914. Together with her sister Elsie, Hilda wrote postcards and letters to their mother Elizabeth in London. Published here in detail for the first time, Jeanette Hoorn draws upon the letters written from Tangier by the Rix sisters to illuminate the artwork and the amazing travel adventures of these two Edwardian women. Adorned with sketches and drawings, the letters provide vivid descriptions of the people and landscape of this cosmopolitan North African city. Her study brings to life the experiences of Hilda and Elsie Rix in North Africa before World War I, presenting a critical reading of Orientalism and how the two women came to understand a place and a culture very different from anything they had previously known

Review: A rare glimpse into life in Tangier through an artists eyes.

For more detailed information about Hilda Rix Nicholas see Wikipedia