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H. Walter Barnett

1862 – 1934

H. Walter Barnett was a leading portrait photographer of the late Victorian, Edwardian and interwar periods. Born in St Kilda, Barnett worked for Stewart and Co and briefly operated his own studio in Hobart before setting up Falk Studios in Sydney in 1885. Falk Studios became the leader in portraits of contemporary Australian stars of the stage and captured many celebrity visitors including Sarah Bernhardt, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain. In the 1890s Barnett established a highly successful photographic studio in London, working for celebrities, artists, royalty and high society personalities. Barnett's close social relationship with fellow expatriate artists Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Charles Conder and, significantly, the French sculptor Auguste Rodin provided the impetus for much of his photography and were crucial to the success of his studio. His works were widely admired for their beauty and artistic strength. The National Portrait Gallery mounted Legends: The Art of Walter Barnett 1862-1934 in 2001.

Updated 2018