The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary, together with their tour documents, prior to departure. The tour includes meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner/light supper.
Day 1: Tuesday 24 May: Canberra Airport – Forrest – Mulloon – Murrumbateman
- Meeting Point: Canberra Airport, Arrivals Hall, at 10.00am.
- Manning Clark House, Forrest incl. talk by Sebastian Clark
- Welcome Lunch at Palerang Homestead, Mulloon
- Light supper
After a morning arrival at Canberra airport, we enjoy a private tour of the former residence of Manning Clark and his wife, Dymphna, which was designed by the architect and writer, Robin Boyd in 1952. It was here that the Clarks hosted luminaries such as Gough Whitlam and Patrick White, and remained friends with Boyd until his death in 1971. The living room includes the piano Manning Clark played on breaks from writing his six-volume History of Australia, artwork by John Perceval, and a portrait of Dymphna by Pamela Houstein. We also view the sitting room which features a print of a 1972 Arthur Boyd portrait of Manning Clark (the original is on loan to the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra), and the floor-to-ceiling library of books in Manning Clark’s study. Today the book collection exceeds 10,000 titles. There is also Dymphna’s typewriter which she used to work on the Aborigines Treaty Committee (at the invitation of poet Judith Wright), translating pioneering works on Aborigines by German anthropologists and editing the diaries of Baron von Hugel, an Austrian naturalist who visited Australia in the 1830s. During our visit we are delighted to confirm that Sebastian Clark has kindly agreed to meet with us and talk about his parents.
The poet David Campbell was a fishing companion of Manning Clark. Born in 1915 at Ellerslie station near Adelong, New South Wales, David Campbell is remembered as one of Australia’s finest lyric poets. He was a grazier in the Monaro for most of his life and a decorated airman during WWII. Over thirty years he published eleven books of poems and two of short stories, many of which appeared in The Bulletin. His poetry, which was inspired by his love of the land, had considerable influence on fellow writers. We travel to Palerang Homestead, a former 1840s inn which lay on the coach road connecting the Monaro district to Goulburn and Sydney. David Campbell wrote much of his work when he and his family lived here through the mid 1960’s.
For now the sharp leaves
On the tree are still
And the great blond paddocks
Come down from the hill.
Following a welcome lunch and tour of Palerang homestead we travel north to Murrumbateman, a former gold mining town and the centre of the Canberra district cool climate wine region. On arrival we enjoy a light supper together at the hotel. (Overnight Murrumbateman) LD
Day 2: Wednesday 25 May, Murrumbateman
- Lecture 1:’The Many Faces of William Shakespeare – portraits of the playwright and portraits in his plays’ by Susannah Fullerton
- Lecture 2: ‘The Face of Gloriana: The Splendid Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I’ by Susannah Fullerton
- Lunch at Olleyville at Shaw Vineyard Estate
- Lecture 3: ‘The Art of British Portraiture, from 1500 to the Present Day’ by David Henderson
- Lecture 4: ‘Portraits of Victorian Writers – Dickens, Darwin, the Brontes, and more’ by Susannah Fullerton
- Dinner at Olleyville at Shaw Vineyard Estate
We spend the day at the family owned Shaw Vineyard Estate, a boutique winery established in 1998 on “Olleyville”, a 700 acre fine wool producing property founded in the mid 1800’s. This multi-award winning winery produces one of Australia’s best Cabernet Sauvignons. The vineyard features a new state-of-the-art cellar door with a tasting room and fine restaurant run by chef Anthony Davis.
We spend a relaxing day enjoying lectures by Susannah and David. Morning, afternoon tea, lunch and dinner at Olleyville Restaurant are all included.
Lecture 1: The very first portrait acquired by London’s National Portrait Gallery was the one known as the ‘Chandos Portrait’ of William Shakespeare. There is a huge need to know what the world’s greatest writer actually looked like – was he dark and swarthy, did he wear an earring, or did he look prim and self-satisfied like the bust of him in Stratford’s church? Susannah will discuss the various portraits that possibly depict this great poet and playwright, examining the claims for authenticity of the Chandos, the Droeshout Portrait and the Cobbe Portrait, along with the bust and other unsatisfactory depictions. We have good portraits of his famous literary contemporaries – Marlowe, Jonson, Sidney and Raleigh – why no definitive picture that shows us the face of the greatest of them all? And why do we need to visualise Shakespeare? What do we want him to look like?
Portraits also play an important role in Shakespeare’s works. Think of Portia’s would-be lovers in The Merchant of Venice – one of them draws from the casket “the portrait of a blinking idiot”. Hermione, in The Winter’s Tale’ comes to life as a statue – her husband Leontes is amazed by the life-like depiction of a woman he believes dead. The art of portraiture has a fascinating role to play within the writings of the Bard.
Lecture 2: One of the portraits coming to Canberra from London is Nicholas Hilliard’s picture of Queen Elizabeth, painted c.1575. During her reign, Elizabeth became a public icon and there are fabulous portraits of her which did a great deal to manipulate her public image. She was painted as a young princess, throughout her life, and she was painted posthumously. In the various depictions she holds fans or prayer books, stands near globes or in front of ships, she wears crowns and symbolic jewels and, over time, details have been covered up or changed which today’s technology can now reveal.
How did Queen Elizabeth I control her image through such portraits as ‘The Armada’ or ‘The Ditchley’? The early portraits were made to attract suitors. While Hilliard became her official miniaturist, she refused to grant rights to portraits of herself to any single artist, and her official ‘Serjeant Painter’ had to approve every work that showed her face.
This talk will look at some of the most interesting portraits of the Queen, discuss their history and provenance, and show how Elizabeth I cannily used art to ensure that her subjects saw exactly the right image of their sovereign.
Lecture 3: The depiction of individual likeness has always had a special role in British art, even though its early proponents were foreigners like Hans Holbein and Anthony Van Dyck. It was not until the Royal Academy was established in 1768 that a genuinely national school of painting emerged under its first president, Joshua Reynolds. The Academy’s ‘grand manner’ of portraiture was ultimately derived from Italian Renaissance and Baroque models and was perfectly suited to depicting the confident faces of British Enlightenment society. Reynolds and his rival Thomas Gainsborough were the leading names in a tradition that encompassed such brilliant practitioners as Thomas Lawrence and George Romney. Their imposing style persisted in one form or another until the Edwardian age and its final manifestation in John Singer Sargent’s seemingly effortless bravura.
The radical art movements emanating from the studios of Paris at the beginning of the 20th century had a profound effect on British painting. While Modernism often took liberties with appearances, its emphasis on the authenticity of individual experience gave portraiture a significant role. The experimental approach of Walter Sickert, Duncan Grant and Wyndham Lewis revitalised the tradition, bringing to it a formal rigour.
Post-war Britain saw the influence of a variety of international art movements; David Hockney’s portraiture had its genesis in Pop Art’s cool immediacy and wit, and Lucien Freud’s stark vision of the human condition was part of the re-emergence of painting based on direct observation. British portraitists working today continue the vital traditions established by their predecessors. Humane, pragmatic, whimsical or bold; the best British portraits encapsulate some the most appealing aspects of the national character while celebrating the singular nature of the sitter.
Lecture 4: In the Victorian era, more people became literate, printing grew cheaper and reading became a past-time not just for the idle rich, but for the working classes as well. Those who read, or heard read, the novels of Charles Dickens wanted to know what the immortal Boz looked like, and Dickens was only too willing to pose, in carefully considered position and against well-chosen backgrounds (no photoshopping then if you wanted something improved!) so that his devoted readers could see what a prosperous and nice man he was. Darwin’s theories might have upset the nation, but people still wanted to have an idea of the appearance of this radical thinker. The exhibition will bring to Australia likenesses of Dickens and Darwin, along with the famous ‘Pillar Portrait’ of the Brontës, done by would-be artist Branwell Brontë. Today it hangs in London’s gallery not because of the artist, but because of the fame (and lack of other portraits) of the sitters, three of the great Victorian novelists. George Richmond RA was noted for his especially flattering portraits of writers – he painted Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Martineau and Lord Macaulay, amongst others. Richmond claimed he never consciously flattered his sitters, but lovingly got the best out of them instead.
This talk will discuss the debt that lovers of Victorian novels and poems owe to portrait painters, and will look at some of the wonderful portraits of 19th-century authors.
We enjoy dinner at Olleyville tonight. (Overnight Murrumbateman) BLD
Day 3: Thursday 26 May, Murrumbateman – Harden and Murrumburrah – Gundaroo – Murrumbateman
- Lecture 5: ‘The Portraits of Biographies – how should biographies depict a subject?’ by Susannah Fullerton
- Lecture 6: ‘Portraiture of ordinary Australians who have extra-ordinary lives’ by Freda Marnie Nicholls
- Lunch at Harden Murrumburrah Arts Council
- Private viewing of the Garangula Gallery, Harden
- Dinner at Grazier Restaurant, Gundaroo
This morning we depart for the twin towns of Harden and Murrumburrah, in the Hilltops Region. At the Harden Murrumburrah Arts Council, a renovated historic Courthouse, we enjoy two lectures. The development of the Murrumburrah Courthouse started back on 13 February 1861 when the local Justices of the peace, Edgar Beckham, the Commissioner for Crown Lands and the residents of Murrumburrah petitioned the NSW Government for a watch house and courthouse to be established in the area. This was due to the increase in crime and lawlessness that had arisen in the district especially after the discovery of gold at Demondrille and nearby at Burrangong.
We enjoy the first lecture by Susannah Fullerton.
Lecture 5: There are artistic portraits of famous people, but there are also biographical portraits. In 1791 Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson set new standards when it came to literary biography and gave readers a warts-and-all picture of the great lexicographer. But every biographer must choose a way of depicting his subject – he might stress the romance, or perhaps the religious side, he might share unflattering stories, or might choose to omit them. When it comes to famous writers such as Dickens or Jane Austen, there are many biographies available. How much can they differ from each other when they tell the same life story, and how can a biographer shape a posthumous portrait of a great author?
Biographers have also had to cope with family and relations, who sometimes tenaciously control a literary estate and an image of ‘their’ author. Which authors have had ferocious ‘keepers of the flame’ ensuring that portraits are flattering, clean of scandal, and sometimes simply untrue. This talk will look at the intriguing ways in which biographers give us written portraits of the men and women whose books we love.
Lecture 6: We are joined by author Freda Marnie Nicholls. Freda lives and works on her husband’s family farm in Gundagai, New South Wales. A writer of Australian biographies, she will talk to us about written portraiture of ordinary Australians who have extraordinary lives. Her current book, Outback Teacher, is set in the remote north-west of Western Australia in the mid 1950s and is about a remarkable primary school teacher, Sally Gare, who started a staging school for aboriginal children. Sally’s story depicts the racial divide at the time and her trials and triumphs when aboriginal education was not compulsory. Freda is currently working on a book about an ASIO spy outed at the Royal Commission into Espionage following the Petrov Affair.
We enjoy a light lunch prepared by the Harden CWA (Country Women’s Association) with local fresh produce. After lunch we depart for a private viewing of the Garangula Art Gallery, an award-winning building located in rural NSW. It houses an important private collection of Aboriginal art and artefacts collected over many years by the owners. The Gallery is a unique building of rammed earth, stone, wood and corten steel. Designed by Fender Katsalidis Mirams Architects (Mona, Hobart), its outstanding design and construction have been recognised with significant awards including the 2014 NSW Architecture Awards for Interior Design, the 2014 Blacket Prize, the ACT 2014 Master Builders Project of the Year, and the 2014 Master Builders National Excellence Award for a Commercial/Industrial Construction. The collection housed in the building features the work of many eminent indigenous artists. The art, along with aboriginal artefacts and traditional crafts, covers most parts of Aboriginal Australia and are beautifully displayed in this specially designed Gallery. Also housed in the Gallery are fine examples of Australian colonial art, paintings by Arthur Streeton, Fred Williams, Russell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan, furniture and other curios. Many of the works and other items have been held in private collections for many years and have not ever been on public display. The Gallery and collection are only occasionally opened to the public so this is a rare opportunity to view this impressive building and significant collection of art, artefacts and furniture.
Tonight we enjoy our dinner at Grazier Restaurant, located in the historic ‘Royal Hotel’ in Gundaroo built in 1865. (Overnight Murrumbateman) BLD
Day 4: Friday 27 May, Murrumbateman – Canberra – Canberra Airport
This morning we check out and drive to Canberra where we view the fabulous exhibition ‘Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London’. The very first portrait ever acquired by the London Gallery, that of William Shakespeare, is just one of the fabulous portraits coming to Australia. This exhibition will show the faces of Darwin and Dickens, the Brontes and royalty, Amy Winehouse and the Beatles, plus many more.
Our farewell lunch will be held at the heritage-listed and rural Tuggeranong Homestead. War historian Dr Charles Bean and his staff occupied the homestead from 1919 to 1925 and there worked on the mammoth task of writing the Official History of Australia’s involvement in WWI.
Lecture 7: We are delighted that acclaimed author, Chris Hammer, a leader in ‘Australian noir’, has kindly agreed to join us for our farewell lunch. For over 30 years Chris was a journalist covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. In Canberra, his roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, current affairs correspondent for SBS’s Dateline, and senior political journalist for The Age. In 2018 he published his debut crime novel, Scrublands, which won the 2019 CWA Dagger New Blood Award for Best Crime Novel and became an instant best-seller. “Set in a fictional Riverina town at the height of a devastating drought, Scrublands is one of the most powerful, compelling and original crime novels to be written in Australia”, is what a critic had to say about it. Its sequels Silver (2019), and Trust (2020) move from ‘bush noir’ to ‘beach noir’ in atmospheric stories which capture the quintessentially Australian coastal lifestyle. Chris’s most recent novel is Treasure and Dirt.
Sadly, all travels must come to an end. We head back to Canberra and its airport, arriving at approximately 4.00pm. Hopefully you will take with you an increased appreciation of the literary and artistic treasures of this country. BL