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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.

A life shared

Patrick White met his life partner Manoly Lascaris at a party in Alexandria, Egypt during the Second World War. Both were 29 years of age.

1Patrick White and Manoly Lascaris, 1987 Max Dupain. © Max Dupain/Copyright Agency, 2020. 2Patrick White with Tom Jones, 1956 Axel Poignant. © Estate of Axel Poignant.

White was a Royal Air Force intelligence officer, while Lascaris was waiting to join the Royal Greek Army. ‘This small Greek of immense moral strength … became the central mandala in my life’s hitherto messy design’, the iconic Australian writer and Nobel Laureate White declared in Flaws in the Glass: A Self-Portrait. ‘I have to admit to a bitter nature. Any sweetness in it comes from Manoly’, he further conceded. Dogs and cats were ever-present through the couple’s 50 years together. In Axel Poignant’s 1956 portrait, White holds feline Tom Jones – complete with sardonic ‘grin’ – at ‘Dogwoods’ in Castle Hill, where White and Lascaris settled after leaving Europe in the late 1940s. 31 years later, Max Dupain captured Lascaris holding one of the pugs bred at their Centennial Park house.

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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.