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Peter Nicholson started making sculpture in 1982 because at the time it seemed like a natural offshoot of his cartooning, and a valuable way of making caricature studies of his cartoon targets.

He had just returned from Italy, after living there with his wife and children for a year. He was inspired by the story-telling power of medieval Italian sculpture, the grotesque sculpture of the baroque, and of course the work of French nineteenth century cartoonist Honore Daumier.

He made many caricature sculptures, which eventually led to the making of the Rubbery Figures puppets. His sculpture was exhibited in several exhibitions, including the National Museum exhibition that toured Australia in 1993-4.

New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange

kennet &_kirner

Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the Queensland Premier whose wife Flo was famous for her pumpkin scones.

“Pigs Arse.” John Elliott adrft in a sea of politics”

Rubbery Figures heads of John Stone, Ian Sinclair and John Button bottled for posterity. They were part of Nicholson’s exhibition “The Rubbery Years” that toured Australia under the auspices of the National Museum of Australia.

Former Victorian Premer Jeff Kennett comes out of the plaster mould. This over life size rubber head was made to plug into the life size figure

This caricature of Bob Hawke is cast in plaster and painted with acrylics.

Rubbery Figures puppets of George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev exhibited in preserving jars.

Alan Bond withdraws billions from the hole in the wall. The reverse of the wall showed Keating and Hawke adjusting the banking system.

Portrait busts

Nicholson started making portrait busts more or less by accident after being commissioned by the Ballarat City Council to make a bronze portrait of Prime Minister Bob Hawke for the historic Prime Ministers Avenue in the Ballarat botanical gardens in Victoria. Other commissioned portrait busts include Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser, Paul Keating and John Howard and Victorian Premier Dick Hamer.

He was also commissioned to make a bronze statue of Robert Clark, the founder of the Ballarat Courier. It stands at the end of the Prime Ministers Avenue.

Nicholson at the installation of his portrait sculpture of Robert Clark, the founder of the Ballarat Courier. The sculpture stands in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

In the making. A clay maquette of Paul Keating (approximately life size) is the model for the half-finished over life size version.

Prime Minister John Howard unveiling his portrait bust in Ballarat. Plainly he is dissatisfied with the size of the lower lip on the portrait.