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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.

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

More information on Sideshow Alley

Selected images

Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask, date unknown an unknown artist after Maximilian Kreitmayer
William Baker Ashton, First Governor of Adelaide Gaol
William Baker Ashton, First Governor of Adelaide Gaol, c. 1849 Henry H. Glover
The Bushranger Tragedy (from The Australasian Sketcher, 23 November 1878)
The Bushranger Tragedy (from The Australasian Sketcher, 23 November 1878) an unknown artist
At the Pantechnetheca, Exhibition, Eastern Arcade, Dominick Sonsee, the smallest man in the world
At the Pantechnetheca, Exhibition, Eastern Arcade, Dominick Sonsee, the smallest man in the world, c. 1880 William Burman
Chinese giant Chonkwicsee and companion
Chinese giant Chonkwicsee and companion, 1876 Arthur William Burman
Master Molteno
Master Molteno, c. 1866 Townsend Duryea
William Francis King, 'The Flying Pieman'
William Francis King, 'The Flying Pieman', c. 1869 John Davis
Thomas Muir of Huntershill
Thomas Muir of Huntershill, 1838 John Kay
John Pascoe Fawkner
John Pascoe Fawkner, c. 1867 Batchelder & Co. Photo
George Barrington
George Barrington, 1820 John Chapman
The Burke and Wills Monument
The Burke and Wills Monument, 1869 Thomas Foster Chuck
Charles Kean
Charles Kean, c. 1865 H N. King
Reverend Nathaniel Kinsman
Reverend Nathaniel Kinsman, c. 1880 William B. Latimer
Chang the Chinese Giant with his wife Kin Foo and manager Edward Parlett
Chang the Chinese Giant with his wife Kin Foo and manager Edward Parlett, c. 1871 Archibald McDonald
Chang the Chinese giant in European dress with Chinese boy and three European men, one of whom is his manager
Chang the Chinese giant in European dress with Chinese boy and three European men, one of whom is his manager, c. 1871 Archibald McDonald
Self portrait
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
William John Wills, 2nd in command of the Victorian Expedition
William John Wills, 2nd in command of the Victorian Expedition, 1860-1861 Henry Samuel Sadd, Fergusson & Mitchell, Melbourne after Thomas Adams Hill
Robert O'Hara Burke, Leader of the Victorian Expedition
Robert O'Hara Burke, Leader of the Victorian Expedition, 1860-1861 Henry Samuel Sadd, Fergusson & Mitchell, Melbourne after Thomas Adams Hill
John Knatchbull
John Knatchbull, c. 1844 an unknown artist
In memory of the Rev William Hill
In memory of the Rev William Hill, 1869 Charles Wherrett
Chang the Chinese giant with his manager cowering on the floor
Chang the Chinese giant with his manager cowering on the floor, c. 1871 an unknown artist
Chang the Chinese giant with his wife Kin Foo
Chang the Chinese giant with his wife Kin Foo, c. 1871 an unknown artist
Chang the Chinese giant and party
Chang the Chinese giant and party, c. 1871 Paterson Brothers
HRH Prince Alfred
HRH Prince Alfred, c. 1868 an unknown artist
George Selth Coppin
George Selth Coppin, c. 1863 an unknown artist
Marianne Egan and her children Gertrude Evans Cahuac and Henry William Cahuac
Marianne Egan and her children Gertrude Evans Cahuac and Henry William Cahuac, 1857 an unknown artist
Master Johnny Day, Australian Champion Pedestrian
Master Johnny Day, Australian Champion Pedestrian, c. 1866 an unknown artist
John Frost
John Frost, 1839 an unknown artist, W Read
The Memoirs of George Barrington
The Memoirs of George Barrington, 1790 an unknown artist, J. Bird & Simmonds
Robert O'Hara Burke
Robert O'Hara Burke, c. 1860 Melbourne and Sydney Photographic Co
The Tichborne Claimant (Arthur Orton)
The Tichborne Claimant (Arthur Orton), c. 1872 Maull & Co Photographers
Thomas Pearce
Thomas Pearce, c. 1878 The Photographic Society of Victoria, Melbourne
The Australian Tom Thumb (John David Armstrong)
The Australian Tom Thumb (John David Armstrong), c. 1880 J D. Cooper
Charles Summers
Charles Summers, late 1860s Batchelder & Co. Photo
Mr and Mrs Case
Mr and Mrs Case, 1864 Alexander Fox and Co
William Saurin Lyster
William Saurin Lyster, mid to late 1860s Davies & Co
Henry Squires
Henry Squires, early 1860s Dalton's Royal Photographic Gallery
Lucy Escott
Lucy Escott, early 1860s Dalton's Royal Photographic Gallery
Gustavus Brooke
Gustavus Brooke, c. 1865 Burman and Son
Nicholas Chevalier
Nicholas Chevalier, c. 1867 Johnstone O'Shannessy & Co
Julia Matthews
Julia Matthews, c. 1862 Davies & Co
Frank Gardiner and Fred Lowry
Frank Gardiner and Fred Lowry, 1864, 1863 Freeman Brothers, an unknown artist
Barrington picking the pocket of J Brown Esqr.
Barrington picking the pocket of J Brown Esqr.
Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite, c.1879 attributed to Charles Nettleton
Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite, c.1879 attributed to Charles Nettleton
Joe Byrne’s body displayed for photographers at Benalla police station
Joe Byrne’s body displayed for photographers at Benalla police station
Daniel Morgan, bushranger, shot at Pechelba [sic] Station, April 9th 1865
Daniel Morgan, bushranger, shot at Pechelba [sic] Station, April 9th 1865
Donohoe c.1830, attributed to Thomas Mitchell (1792-1855)
Donohoe c.1830, attributed to Thomas Mitchell (1792-1855)
Vue intérieure de la morgue
Vue intérieure de la morgue
Prison photograph of Ned Kelly c.1873, image courtesy National Museum of Australia.
Prison photograph of Ned Kelly c.1873, image courtesy National Museum of Australia.

Related information

Prison and death in the 19th century

Two iBooks of authentic records

Learning resources

These books include sixteen inmates including Ned Kelly, Captain Moonlite and Frederick Deeming and twelve sketches of the deceased, including several children. For Year 7 – 9 students.

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

The Dissecting Room

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Joanna Gilmour accounts for Australia’s deliciously ghoulish nineteenth century criminal portraiture. 

Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask

Getting a head

Magazine article by Alexandra Roginski, 2015

Alexandra Roginski gets a feel for phrenology’s fundamentals.

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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.

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