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In celebration of #Frocktober we're bringing you some glorious gowns from the portraits in our collection, and the galvanising gals behind them. Lola Montez (1818–1861) was the most famous of the international performers who toured Australia during the boom years of the 1850s. Irish-born, she had spent much of the 1840s touring throughout Europe, attracting praise and scandal in equal measure while also compiling an impressive register of lovers: among them King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who abdicated on her account. She arrived in Australia in 1855 and performed in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide before heading to the goldfields. Her signature ‘Spider Dance’ – in which she enacted having a spider caught in ‘an extremely short gauze skirt’ – caused outrage in some places but was much loved by audiences in Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine. She left Australia in 1856 and took to lecturing on beauty and morality when her stage career ended. Here our curatorial researcher Aimee pays tribute to this much loved portrait of Lola. You can see this portrait on display in Gallery Four. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Portrait: Lola Montes, c. 1845 by Joseph Karl Stieler oil on canvas ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @ocrf #LolaMontes #JosephKarlStieler #SpiderDance #PortraitAu #Frocktober2019 #BadassWomen #OvarianCancerResearchFoundation #31DaysOfChange #FrockOffCancer #FrockingFabulous #NationalPortraitGallery #NPG #💃

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