Item #122473 Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville. Sidney NOLAN.
Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville
Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville
Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville
Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville
Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville

Paradise Garden. Paintings, Drawings and Poems. With Introduction by Robert Melville

London, R. Alistair McAlpine Publishing Ltd, 1971.

Large quarto, 111 pages with 49 full-page colour plates, each with a colour-decorated semi-transparent overlay.

Gilt-blocked green cloth; an excellent copy with the excellent pictorial dustwrapper (lettered on the spine), with the decorated semi-transparent secondary dustwrapper completing the front cover illustration (and lettered on the front panel).

The standard edition, limited to 2890 copies; there were also 110 copies 'bound as de luxe edition | 20 copies with original drawings signed by the Artist' (we can assure you there was only one original drawing per copy!). The fourth page in all copies is a blank; in this copy Sidney Nolan has executed (and signed) a large original crayon drawing (in four colours) of a woman's head in profile, with a snake in place of her hair. While this is not one of the special deluxe edition, the presence of such a striking original image makes it just as desirable (and arguably less 'production-line').

A curious and lavish production, 'Paradise Garden' marries Nolan's artistic work with his poetry. The poems are set opposite plates from his monumental 'Paradise Garden' series of 1320 flower paintings, and are overlaid with semi-transparent sheets illustrated after his crayon drawings. The poems themselves are a bitter response to his ménage à trois with John and Sunday Reed at Heide, and the book's publication, thirty years after that relationship dissolved, was not welcomed by them. Of the poems, Nolan wrote to his daughter: 'You remember walking by that little bridge below the Esplanade [Catani Arch at St Kilda] and we talked about writing some poetry. Well I have done some and published them with illustrations of "Paradise Garden". But the poems are the opposite of the paintings. They refer to the rather night-mare period of my life at Heidelberg and are quite savage in a way that never happens in a painting. I hope to one day write a book in which the poetry celebrates rather than castigates, and is more like what I thought about at eighteen standing by that bridge'. In light of this, the crayon drawing of the woman and snake in this copy takes on a new significance. Is she Eve? Sunday Reed? Both?

The publisher, Alistair McAlpine, wrote: 'Despite the fact that "Paradise Garden" was a beautiful book in every respect - no expense had been spared in its production - I was only able to sell a small number of copies'. It was, he believed, 'the most original and impressive book that I have ever published'. The book was accompanied by a film of the same name produced by Stuart Cooper, and with narration and recitation by Orson Welles.

Item #122473

Price (AUD): $5,500.00

See all items by