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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.

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Barry Jones

1998
Tristan Humphries

digital print on watercolour paper (sheet: 95.4 cm x 76.8 cm)

Barry Jones AO (b. 1932) is a politician, lawyer and writer. He was educated at the University of Melbourne and worked as a public servant and high school teacher before rising to fame as Australia's Quiz champion from 1960 to 1968. He became the country's first talk-back radio host, then lectured in History at La Trobe University before becoming a State Labor MP in 1972. He entered federal parliament in 1977 as the member for Lalor; between 1983 and 1990 he held the portfolios of Science, Prices and Consumer Affairs, Small Business and Customs. He was National President of the Australian Labor Party from 1992 to 2000, and Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Convention in 1998. Jones has written a number of influential books, of which the best known are Sleepers, Wake!: Technology and the Future of Work, and the Dictionary of World Biography.

This work is one in a series of 'collaborative pictures' of prominent Australians by Tristan Humphries, inspired by the Surrealist game of cadavres exquis. Humphries asked each of his sitters to bring a shoebox of their special things to the sittings; after meeting the artist, Jones was not disposed to bring much, and in this case, it was Humphries, not Jones, who selected items included in the finished work. The lines of verse are from the first chorus of The Rock, by TS Eliot (1934); the quotation is from the prologue to Shakespeare's Henry V; the claw in the top right corner is a c. 800 BC ceremonial bronze axe head from Luristan (now Iran) from Jones' s collection. Jones has said that he has 'no idea' why he is portrayed with a third eye. The absence of rapport between Humphries and Jones is reflected in the title the artist gave the portrait: 'Veil'.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2000
© Estate of Tristan Humphries

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

Tristan Humphries (age 36 in 1998)

Barry Jones AC (age 66 in 1998)

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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.

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