Major George Matson Nicholas

Accession Number ART96807
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 56 x 38 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description charcoal and pastel over pencil on paper
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Western Front 1916
Maker Nicholas, Hilda Rix
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Rix Nicholas drew this portrait of her new husband two days after their wedding on 9 October 1916.

The eldest of six brothers, George or ‘Matson’ Nicholas (1887-1916) as he was known, was a school teacher before enlisting on 28 April 1915 and served on Gallipoli where he was wounded by shrapnel. On his recovery Matson re-joined his Battalion in France and won a Distinguished Service Order at Pozieres, single handedly capturing an enemy machine gun post. General Birdwood wrote to congratulate him; ‘Your action not only then, but on other occasions, has been beyond praise. And not only do I thank you most heartily for it, but feel proud at having such officers serving under me’. According to family legend Matson saw some of Hilda’s paintings in her abandoned studio while based in Etaples with his Battalion. On travelling to England on leave he tracked her down. Hilda and Matson were married on 7 October 1916 and honeymooned at Hindhead, Surrey. On returning to the Front Matson assumed command of the 24th Battalion and was killed in action at Flers on 14 November 1916.

Purchased with assistance from the Australian Government’s National Cultural Heritage Account, 2015.