Rabbit Trapper's Daughter, [by Murray Griffin].

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Rabbit Trapper's Daughter, [by Murray Griffin].


Bunbury, Alisa.


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Rabbit trapper’s daughter.

Rabbit trapper’s daughter is the most intimate of Griffin’s personal works. This is the only of Griffin’s prints in which a woman is the focus of attention, with the exception of the commissioned print, Portrait (white haired woman) [cat.14].

Although he refused to expand on the story, this woman is known to have been an important figure in Griffin’s past. Even in his eighties, he would laugh and blush when this work was mentioned. A number of people have confirmed that she was Griffin’s first love — some even said the love of his life, although this is belied by his devotion to his wife, Norrie. The story, as one friend recalled, reading between lines, was that Griffin had an intense relationship with this woman who was removed from his influence, by his or her parents, and sent to the country.

Little of this comes across in the print. The figure is positioned relatively insignificantly in the corner of the image, overshadowed by towering gums, through which dappled light is filtered. It is unclear what the amorphous purple shapes are, which frame the woman in the otherwise open forest. The foliage has been treated in a manner similar to the forest in Lyre Bird feeding [cat.43], with gouges reminiscent of the prints of Frank Reynold’s. The vertical lines on the woman’­s blouse came about through a printing accident, whereby ink which had run into the grooves on the plate was unintentionally printed.

© Alisa Bunbury, 1998.