Hilda Rix Nicholas, The masquerader, circa 1913  oil on canvas. Purchased, 1977


Look closely at the artwork The masquerader by Ballarat-born artist Hilda Rix Nicholas.

What is the woman in the painting wearing?

Do you see the bold patterns on her shawl and the flowers in her hands?

What is she wearing over her eyes?

Is she ready for a party or performing in a play?

Do you like to dress up?

Inspired by

Hilda Rix Nicholas

The masquerader circa 1913

oil on canvas. Purchased, 1977

Activity: Found object disguise

Create a disguise using materials from around your home or classroom.

Art element: Colour

Art principle: Pattern

What you’ll need

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • A piece of cardboard
  • Materials to decorate your disguise, such as coloured paper, foil, buttons, feathers, pompoms, straws.


  1. Design your disguise. Be creative – your disguise could cover your eyes, your face or your whole body.
  2. Draw an outline of your disguise on the cardboard and cut it out.
  3. Use a pencil to pierce the cardboard where the eyeholes will go. Use the scissors to cut the eye holes out. You might need an adult to help you with this step.
  4. Use the materials you have collected to decorate your disguise.
  5. Experiment with different materials or try curling and fringing the paper to make interesting effects.

About the artist

Ballarat-born artist Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884–1961) was a well-known painter during the first half of the 20th century. She travelled to Europe and lived in both England and France. While she was overseas, she learnt how to paint in the popular styles of the time including Post-Impressionism and Fauvism. She painted The masquerader while she was living in France, after a trip to Morocco

About the artwork

The masquerader shows a young woman dressed in a colourful costume. The woman in the painting is the artist’s sister Elsie. Elsie is dressed in blue and holding a bunch of bright orange and yellow flowers. A boldly patterned shawl is draped over her shoulders and a black mask covers her eyes. She looks as though she is ready for a party, performance or celebration. The colours and patterns in the painting are similar to the ones the artist would have seen during her trip to Morocco.



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