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Brenda Niall

Brenda Niall reviews ‘Margaret Olley: Far from a still life’ by Meg Stewart

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
As an unknown young artist, Margaret Olley gained instant fame as the subject of the enchanting portrait by William Dobell that won the Archibald Prize in 1948. With Olley’s Mona Lisa smile, the warm, summery colours of her dress and her extravagantly flower-laden hat, Dobell created an enduring image. An embarrassed Olley did not welcome the publicity. This was not the way she wanted to enter t ... (read more)

Brenda Niall reviews 'The Diaries of Donald Friend, Volume 1' edited by Anne Gray

August 2002, no. 243 01 August 2002
‘It is simply a very young girl’s record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.’ Oscar Wilde’s Cecily, in The Importance of Being Earnest, expresses the contradictions of many diarists. Whether by chance, or by the diarist’s own wish, this most private form of writing often comes before the public. It may be that in the diary’s purest form the self ... (read more)