After a 15 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to Neutral Bay, and a short walk round the bend, we found Nutcote. We arrived well before the house opened for guests so Hera & I enjoyed exploring the beautiful gardens (especially the caterpillar hedge) full of the native flora that inspired May Gibb’s gumnut characters.
It’s always exciting seeing another children’s book illustrator’s studio, so it was fun getting a tour of her home which she helped design.
What was a little disappointing was that a lot of May’s belongings were auctioned off years ago, so the tour guide had to point out the few things in the home that actually belonged to her… most of it was from her era, but not hers. So seeing her studio was a bit of an anticlimax, as the dirty old paintbrushes weren’t her dirty old paintbrushes. Not to mention that the artwork on show in her home were all replicas, as all her artwork has been sold and spread across Australia!
I didn’t grow up with May Gibbs, but (ahem, nerd alert) had some stamps with her artwork on it from her gumnut baby stories which I thought were marvelous and certainly influenced my illustrations.