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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.

Pictorial profiles of hearth and home

Seemingly simple art forms can offer sensitive, intimate portrayals of nuanced scenes, such as this depiction of domestic felicity.

Silhouettes were a popular and affordable form of portraiture in nineteenth century England and America, and noted artist Samuel Metford spent time practising his craft in both countries. This interior by Metford was commissioned in 1846 for the MacKenzie family when they were living in Lancashire. It features husband Francis (far right), and wife Maria (third from left); their six children; and Maria’s mother Mrs Edwards. Francis died in 1851, and Maria made the decision to emigrate to New South Wales with her surviving five children soon after. The endearing portrait, depicting the MacKenzies happily ensconced at home, went with them, and was kept within the family for over 160 years. It was bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery in 2007 by Maria’s great-granddaughter Nancy.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency