Wild Love


Kiera Lindsey uncovers the life of the exuberant colonial painter Adelaide Ironside, from her childhood on the shores of Sydney harbour to the leading artistic circles of Europe where she was celebrated as 'the impersonation of genius'.

Colonial lasses were expected to marry at sixteen, but she wanted to be an artist, not a wife, and she had big ambitions. She wanted to train with the best painters of her day in Europe, to elevate her sex, and to adorn her home town of Sydney with republican frescoes.

Adelaide Ironside was the granddaughter of a convict forger, and the first locally born female professional painter to leave the colonies to train abroad. She astonished the poet Robert Browning with her 'enthusiasm and wild ways', was mentored by John Ruskin, sold her work to the Prince of Wales and won accolades in Rome and London as well as Paris and Sydney. Yet today she is largely forgotten.

In this compelling biography, historian Kiera Lindsey recreates Adelaide's life and her relationship with her mother, Martha, who was her greatest supporter but who also hindered her from fully realising her ambitions. She reveals how romantic mysticism infused Adelaide's life and work, and how the rebellious ideas of the Pre-Raphaelites changed the course of Adelaide's art and career.


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