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Portrait of Alan Marshall, 1955

Lina Bryans

oil on cardboard (frame: 77.8 cm x 93.7 cm, support: 66.7 cm x 83.2 cm)

Alan Marshall OBE AM (1902-1984) was a writer. At the age of six, he contracted poliomyelitis, which left him partially paralysed for life. His best-known work is his life story, I Can Jump Puddles (1955) which has sold more than three million copies, has been adapted for an award-winning film and an Australian television series and has been translated into many languages including Bulgarian, Russian, Kazakh, Japanese and Mandarin. The writer Paul Jennings has remarked that it was one of the first books allowing Australian boys to read 'stories about themselves'. Marshall was strongly interested in the experience of the ordinary person. Marshall's other books include These are My People (1946) and Hammers Over the Anvil (1975), the latter made into a 1991 film starring Russell Crowe and Charlotte Rampling. Editor Stephen Murray-Smith wrote that Marshall 'not only held a firm place in the thoughts of all who knew him, but was a man who was regarded with national affection. His art was never pretentious. He never tried to be trendy.' The Alan Marshall Award for Literature is the award for children's literature in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.

Lina Bryans painted more than seventy portraits of Australian artistic and literary figures between 1937 and 1974. Bryans and Marshall moved in similar circles in Melbourne, and were both involved in the Moomba Book Fair of 1955.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999

Accession number: 1999.28

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Lina Bryans (age 46 in 1955)

Alan Marshall AM OBE (age 53 in 1955)

Subject professions

Writing

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