Fontainebleau



Frederick McCubbin’s Macedon house and studio. 


Fontainebleau, December 2017.

Fontainebleau, December 2017.


Remnant kitchen garden.


McCubbin's studio?

The pioneer, 1904, oil on canvas, 225.0 x 295.7 cm. Collection NGV.


At the suggestion of a day trip to Mt Macedon with architect and heritage conservator, Louise Lakier, I decided to try and track down McCubbin’s house and octagonal studio situated at the base of the garden that I had heard about many years prior. The house today is in a total state of disrepair. It’s here McCubbbn painted The pioneer, 1904, reportedly with his wife and a local gardener and his relative among the models. It’s an iconic Australian Painting. This was the only house McCubbin purchased (1901) and is in an isolated spot on the north side of the summit.

Whilst I initially learnt of the rotunda shaped studio from an artist who knew the occupants I can’t find any online references. This building is somewhat repaired, however the roof is definitely early 20th century circa federation design and woodwork. It’s also perfectly positioned to take in the north light and views. Most photos of the house online are taken from this vantage point. There is also an old road from the house via the kitchen garden to the ‘studio’ which goes no further.

McCubbin was a founding member of the Heidelberg School and drawing master at the National Gallery Art School, School of Design.

McCubbin’s painting, On the wallaby track, 1896, was the subject of a humorous Kit Kat television advertisement in the early eighties. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/N8BQb4apMkU





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