Wonderfully eccentric, a whimsical free spirit, bohemian, theatrical and fun, friend of the talented and the famous, she loved 'people who Do Things'...
Her house was an old hat factory, chaotically yet carefully constructed as one continuous still life, room by room.
It was her Studio and her Salon, and those who enjoyed her hospitality around the enormous dining table were captivated by the experience.
She was one of Australia's most-loved artists, Margaret Olley [1923-2011],
famous for her gorgeous still-life paintings, warm, richly coloured visions of flowers, fruits, and her lifetime collections of china, glass, animals, textiles, and exotic pieces of furniture and bric-a-brac.
|'Poppies and Checked Cloth', 2008, Margaret Olley|
Here is Margaret in 2007 at an Exhibition of her recent paintings..
Frequent guests around Margaret's table included Barry Humphries, Clive James, current and former Prime Ministers, many other artists and actors. The day before she died, in 2011, while putting the finishing touches to her last exhibition, Australia's Governor-General Quentin Bryce and her husband Michael, brought a picnic lunch to the Hat Factory - not for the first time!
Now for the surprising part:
The contents of the house were bequeathed to the Tweed Regional Art Gallery at Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales, an area where Margaret lived as a child:
A purpose-built extension has been built, overlooking these stunning views of Mt. Warning and the Tweed valley. In a breath-taking feat of contemporary archaeology, the interior of Margaret Olley's house has been transported from Sydney and recreated as a permanent memorial and museum.
Exciting to those familiar with the paintings..
your can see and recognize dozens of pieces, just like old friends.
Heaps of books, not so random:
each group were on a particular, artistic, subject.
This is where Olley sat to paint:
Viewing is through just three normal doorways, and a couple of windows, making the permitted photography a little difficult.
Nevertheless, on the day we visited, dozens of excited fans were doing just what I was: attempting to make our own little 'Olley Still Lifes' with our cameras!
I came home with a strong inclination to up-scale the eclectic clutter in the Cardinal Nest...
In other exciting news, I have been medically cleared to travel, and we are busily re-scheduling our cancelled trip to Europe.
After my Margaret Olley experience, I am dreaming of immersing myself into Monet's paintings...
I'm off to research more about Paris and Italy -
Keep warm, and have a lovely weekend.