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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.

Peter Sculthorpe

A Celebration

Previous exhibition from Wednesday 29 April 2009 until Sunday 19 July 2009
Peter Sculthorpe, c. 1969 David Moore
Peter Sculthorpe, c. 1969 (detail) David Moore. © Lisa, Michael, Matthew and Joshua Moore. http://davidmoorephotography.com.au/

Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE (b. 1929) is Australia's best-known composer. Born in Launceston, Tasmania and educated in Melbourne, he began composing at the age of 20, encouraged by the conductor and teacher Sir Bernard Heinze. To celebrate Peter Sculthorpe's 80th birthday, the National Portrait Gallery has created a feature exhibition of portraits and associated biographic material drawn from the National Portrait Gallery and the composer’s personal collection.

5 portraits

1Peter Sculthorpe, 1982 Eric Smith. © Estate of Eric Smith. 2Russell Drysdale, Tallow Beach, New South Wales, 1969 (printed 2000) David Moore. © Lisa, Michael, Matthew and Joshua Moore
http://davidmoorephotography.com.au/. 3Russell Drysdale and Peter Sculthorpe, Tallow Beach, New South Wales, 1969 (printed 2000) David Moore. © Lisa, Michael, Matthew and Joshua Moore
http://davidmoorephotography.com.au/. 4Peter Sculthorpe, 1977 (printed 2002) Lewis Morley. © Lewis Morley Archive LLC.

Related people

Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE

Related information

An interview with Peter Sculthorpe  video: 2 minutes
An interview with Peter Sculthorpe  video: 2 minutes
An interview with Peter Sculthorpe  video: 2 minutes
An interview with Peter Sculthorpe  video: 2 minutes

Peter Sculthorpe

'Brings in the sun'

Portrait story

Legendary Australian composer, Peter Sculthorpe, describes the development of his career.

Sidney Nolan, Western Australia, 1962 (printed 2000) David Moore
Sidney Nolan, Western Australia, 1962 (printed 2000) David Moore
Sidney Nolan, Western Australia, 1962 (printed 2000) David Moore
Sidney Nolan, Western Australia, 1962 (printed 2000) David Moore

Cultural kaleidoscope

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The complex connections between four creative Australians; Patrick White, Sidney Nolan, Robert Helpmann and Peter Sculthorpe.

Peter Sculthorpe, 1982 Eric Smith
Peter Sculthorpe, 1982 Eric Smith
Peter Sculthorpe, 1982 Eric Smith
Peter Sculthorpe, 1982 Eric Smith

Creative space

Magazine article by Eric Smith, 2004

Eric Smith describes the agony and finally the ecstasy of winning the 1982 Archibald Prize with the portrait of Peter Sculthorpe.

Wendy drunk 11pm, 1983 by Brett Whiteley
Wendy drunk 11pm, 1983 by Brett Whiteley
Wendy drunk 11pm, 1983 by Brett Whiteley
Wendy drunk 11pm, 1983 by Brett Whiteley

Idle Hours

Previous exhibition, 2009

Idle hours is an exhibition of luxurious beauty. Paintings, prints and drawings represent subjects in quiet moods and situations arranged according to the time of day they depict - reading, drawing, snoozing, bathing, sewing, gardening, sitting, looking, making love and spending tranquil time with companions. Works in the exhibition range from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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.