Sea Creatures

Peter Campbell

  • Sidney Nolan: Such is life by Brian Adams
    Hutchinson, 275 pp, £16.95, June 1987, ISBN 0 09 168430 7
  • Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures by John Wilmerding
    Viking, 208 pp, £25.00, September 1987, ISBN 0 670 81766 X
  • Faces 1966-1984 by David Hockney and Marco Livingstone
    Thames and Hudson, 96 pp, £8.95, June 1987, ISBN 0 500 27464 9

Sidney Nolan was born in Melbourne in 1916. His father was on the trams, but did rather better at illegal bookmaking. They were Irish, working-class, lapsed Catholics. Sidney left school at 14 and spent his late teens in irregular employment and part-time art education. He could not draw well enough for Mr Leyshon-White’s commercial art agency, so he ran the correspondence course. He enjoyed writing to rural amateurs telling them how bad their work was. Later he made advertising displays and did a little modelling for a hat company. He read a great deal, and made illustrations for Joyce’s Ulysses, which was banned and could only be read at the National Library. He lived for a while in a ‘weekender’ (a cottage in the bush) and tried to stow away on a ship to Britain. By the time he was 21 he had worked as cook in a hamburger bar, helped lead a strike in the hat factory, and married.

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