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Neville and Jill Wran - as the Duke and Duchess of Sydney (with apologies to Piero della Francesca)
, 1983

by Frank Hodgkinson

oil on canvas (diptych)

Neville Wran AC QC (1926-2014) was Labor Premier of New South Wales for a record term from 1976 to 1986. From a working class family in Balmain, Wran was a successful trade union barrister before entering politics in 1970. Called 'Nifty Nev' because of his electoral success and skilful handling of the media, Wran initiated a raft of legal, social and cultural reforms. In 1983 he stood aside as premier while a Royal Commission investigated allegations of corruption. Wran was exonerated and resigned from politics in 1986 to become a merchant banker. He was a founder of the Australian Republican Movement. Jill Hickson Wran (b. 1948) worked full-time throughout her partner's term in office. Formerly a literary agent, she is currently Chairman of the Foundation for the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.

Jill Hickson Wran (b.1948) is the second wife of Neville Wran (1926 – 2014). She is a literary agent and has been the Managing Director of Hickson Associates Pty Ltd since 1983. She has been a Member of the Centennial Park Trust since 1996 and Member of the Board of Directors of AGSM since 1995. Jill Wran is a former Member of such organisations as Ansett NZ, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Opera House Trust.

These portraits reference two of the most famous works of art of the Italian Renaissance, the ‘Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino’ (1465 – 1472) by Piero della Francesca. Depicting the Duke Federigo da Montefeltro and his wife, Battista Sforza facing each other, these are powerful reminders of their status in society. The portraits reference the period of time in which Neville was the Premier of New South Wales (1976 – 1986).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Kate Hodgkinson
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 1999.25.1-2