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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.

Mrs Grey

c. 1845
Theresa Walker

cast wax (frame: 19 cm x 19 cm depth 3.5 cm diameter 19.0 cm)

Theresa Walker (née Chauncy) was an original. One contemporary, a Mrs Edwards of Germanton, described her as ‘one of the three great women I have known during a long life.’ On the other hand, the Rev. Mr Holden of Adelaide wrote of her ‘marked peculiarities of character’, and her own brother noted her ‘lack of discretion in reference to matters of every day life.’ Notwithstanding (or perhaps on account of) this apparent eccentricity, Walker is an important though neglected figure in early colonial settler art: Australia’s first woman sculptor. She and her sister, the equally-gifted painter Martha Berkeley, were amongst the most accomplished artists working in South Australia during the 1840s. During this period Theresa made low relief wax profiles of the colony’s leading citizens. Walker also took photographs, although only a couple of her salted paper prints survive. Interestingly, in the light of this display, they are images of drawings by Yakaduna (Tommy McRae), made when she lived near him at Barnawatha in Victoria in the early 1860s.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Theresa Walker (age 38 in 1845)

Lady Eliza Lucy Grey (age 26 in 1845)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Profile of a marriage

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the lives of Sir George Grey and his wife Eliza, the subjects of a pair of wax medallions in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa
Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa
Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa
Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa

Husbands and Wives

Photographic Portraits from 19th Century Australia

Previous exhibition, 2010

'I have just been to my dressing case to take a peep at you.

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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.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency