#Nolan100 - NO.37

Rose in Coffee Pot, c.1977

Professor Anthony Collier


"Driving from Birmingham twenty years ago to walk on Offa’s Dyke we passed a sign outside Presteigne saying “Sidney Nolan Exhibition”.  Cynically I thought it’s a small gallery with a few prints trading on his name. Thankfully we followed the sign arriving at an amazing array of medieval barns set around a courtyard. There were fifteen or twenty oil paintings by Sidney hanging in the Tithe Barn. Spellbinding. A magical moment. Alone in beautiful countryside with Tate Gallery quality paintings. No one about, just us in this extraordinary space.

Etched most clearly in my mind was a superb painting of a vase of flowers on a mantelpiece. A man appeared who talked enthusiastically about the paintings and the Trust’s future. This was Anthony Plant and the first of many inspirational people I have been privileged to meet through the Trust over the last ten years.

Sidney left two great legacies, his work and his long term vision for the Trust. It’s that vision - the future of the Trust as a great international centre for experiment, reflection and development linking with neighbouring urban and rural communities that sets me on fire. The creative role this historic place can play globally and locally is enormous. Is anywhere comparable?"

Anthony Collier is a Trustee of the Sidney Nolan Trust. He was Professor and Dean of Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University).  He is the founding Director and Chair of The Bond Company in Birmingham, is an exhibiting artist and is active in the charitable and arts sectors in the West Midlands.

Sidney Nolan, c.1977, Rose in Coffee Pot, oil on board, 91.5 x 122cm, © The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust

Supported By

Arts Council England