Author(s): Sarah Engledow
The award-winning, Paris to Monaro was first produced to accompany a smash hit exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra in 2013. This second edition brings the studio, its exotic contents, its idiosyncratic inhabitant, its bright artworks and an endearing miscellany of visitors, neighbours, children, nannies and animals to vivid life once again. The young Australian artist Hilda Rix went to Europe at the beginning of 1907, hankering to learn. For some fifteen years she lived and worked in London, Paris, Etaples and Morocco. There were good times, artistic success and dress-up parties. There was sorrow, too, typical of the times, as her mother and sister succumbed to typhus and her new husband was butchered at the Western Front. Returning to Sydney to heal in the sun, she took an ambitious automobile tour before she met a grazier, also a veteran, Edgar Wright. In 1928 she moved to his property, Knockalong, near the town of Delegate on the bleached plains of the Southern Monaro region of New South Wales.
In the flower-filled garden she created at Knockalong, Hilda Rix designed a studio, loosely French Provincial in style, as big as a country church with a massive fireplace, huge windows, a soaring ceiling, a loft and a stage.