INTERIOR, c. 1911
Australia 1855 - 1917
oil on canvas, 76.6 x 91.8 cm
Collection: Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
William Davies Bequest Fund, 1945
This is an intimate
painting by Frederick McCubbin of his youngest child, Kathleen, at around
four years of age, seated at the family piano in the music room of their
home at 42 Kensington Road, South Yarra.
Kathleen spoke to
me about the painting, and her reflections were as such:
'This is the music room in our house in Kensington Road, South Yarra and
I posed for the model of the little girl seated at the piano. The blue
velvet dress I have on in this painting was long, right down to my feet,
and it was beautiful that dress. It was made for the opening of one of
my father's exhibitions that Nellie Melba opened. I can remember I had
to present Nellie Melba with a bunch of red roses - I didn't do it very
well, I might add, because I was a bit scared. Anyway, when Melba arrived
with three young men she was so charming, as Melba could be when she was
in the mood, but she was an amazing person - and I gave her the red roses
and she accepted them graciously. She had received thousands of posies
before but she received mine as if it was the only posy she had ever received,
and she took my hand and said "Now will you take me around the exhibition
and tell me all about your father's paintings" - and I walked around the
exhibition with her, and I thought that was wonderful you know, walking
around hand-in-hand with the great Nellie Melba.
In this work there
is one of my father's paintings on the wall, the portrait of Mrs Beaufort.
She had come from the American South with her parents and she could remember
when her parents owned black slaves. - I can always remember that.
The chair in the
painting was a chair I had for many years. It was a real Sheridan chair,
which I sold. The piano was later taken to our place at Mount Macedon,
but I don't know what became of it. The light in the house was from oil
lamps, for that was before the house had electricity. At that stage of
my life I only thumped on the piano, and I remember that after a while
it made my father very nervous. I remember it was the only time I ever
got a smack on the back of the hand with his paint brush - that comes
into my book 'Daisy Chains' - anyway I put on such an act that
he got terribly contrite as if he had done a terrible thing, so he gave
me two shillings, and oh, that was wonderful'.
of Dame Nellie Melba c. 1921
can be copied from this site. Permission to publish or reproduce can be
sought from Ballarat
Fine Art Gallery. All Rights
Reserved medialaunch Pty. Ltd.
Left: Arthur Streeton
- Above Us The Great Grave Sky, 1890
Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.