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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

About Face

Portrait treats and treatises

From punchy short pieces to longer form leanings, it's the place to come for a frequent fix of the world's most accessible art form.

Mexico from the Palace painted by ‘Maximilian Emperor'
Mexico from the Palace painted by ‘Maximilian Emperor'
Mexico from the Palace painted by ‘Maximilian Emperor'

Empirical art

by Angus Trumble, 30 September 2016

Several years ago I came across this curious painting on the racks in a distant, dusty corner of the store room in the basement of the Johannesburg Art Gallery in South Africa. Since then the mystery surrounding it has never been far from my mind. 

Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Tribute: Mary Isabel Murphy

by Angus Trumble, 28 September 2016

The Chairman, Board, Director and all the staff of the National Portrait Gallery mourn the loss of our Benefactor, Mary Isabel Murphy.

Mary, Queen of Scots by unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery of London
Mary, Queen of Scots by unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery of London
Mary, Queen of Scots by unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery of London

Portrait dendrochronology

by Angus Trumble, 26 August 2016

Angus's latest Trumbology is accompanied by the following caveat: 'This one is reeeeeeally geeky.'

General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane
General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane
General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane

Seeing stars

Celebrating Science Week

by Joanna Gilmour, 16 August 2016

It has been suggested that Sir Thomas Brisbane’s interest in the New South Wales governorship was as attributable to his passion for astronomy as to the desirability of the position as a prestigious career move.

Gotta catch 'em all

by Angus Trumble, 28 July 2016

Angus Trumble grabs his life jacket and rides the Pokémon GO tsunami.

Koko & Kiko (42nd Street Series), 1980 by Larry Clark
Koko & Kiko (42nd Street Series), 1980 by Larry Clark
Koko & Kiko (42nd Street Series), 1980 by Larry Clark

Best buds

by Dr Christopher Chapman, 15 July 2016

It’s important to have a best bud when you’re growing up. For many boys the transition from boyhood through adolescence is defined by wanting to fit in. 

Thomas Woolner
Thomas Woolner
Thomas Woolner

The mystery of Enoch Arden

by Angus Trumble, 4 July 2016

Tennyson's Enoch Arden was inspired by a story that Thomas Woolner passed on to him – but whose story and of whom?

Video still from Documentation of Selected Works, 1971-74 by Chris Burden
Video still from Documentation of Selected Works, 1971-74 by Chris Burden
Video still from Documentation of Selected Works, 1971-74 by Chris Burden

Danger boy

by Dr Christopher Chapman, 27 June 2016

I didn’t ever meet the American artist Chris Burden but about 20 years ago I wrote to him. I was after the loan of some photographic prints of his most famous performance: he had arranged for a friend to fire a bullet so it would graze his arm.

Inditchenous beestes of New Olland

by Angus Trumble, 1 June 2016

A remarkable undated drawing by Edward Lear (1812–88) blends natural history and whimsy.

Ellen Stirling
Ellen Stirling
Ellen Stirling

Very fine and very like

by Angus Trumble, 1 May 2016

When did notions of very fine and very like become separate qualities of a portrait? And what happens to 'very like' in the age of photographic portraiture?

Museum Dance-off 2016!

Can't get Hugh out of my head...

27 April 2016

Each year staff from cultural institutions strut their stuff on the international stage for a chance to win fame, glory and a trophy.  But this year our Director, Angus Trumble had other things on his mind...

On the passage and pace of time

by Angus Trumble, 5 April 2016

In shock it fluctuates and with age, accelerates. Remembering the First World War and the Easter Rising.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency