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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.

Portrait of Jill Neville, 1967 (completed 1997)

Reginald Gray

oil and egg tempera on canvas (frame: 43.0 cm x 34.0 cm, support: 33.0 cm x 24.0 cm)

Jill Neville (1932-1997), writer and critic, grew up in Sydney and the Blue Mountains. From the age of 17 she was the darling of assorted Sydney bohemians, but she left for London in the early 1950s. When her brother Richard Neville arrived in London, she introduced him to people who helped launch the English incarnation of his magazine Oz, the first issues of which were published from her Bayswater home. In 1966 she published her first novel, Fall-Girl, which drew on her tumultuous relationships with the poets Peter Porter and Robert Lowell. Moving to Paris the following year, she went on to write six more novels, several of which explore the experience of individuals torn between Europe and Australia. Through the 1980s and early 90s she was a regular reviewer for the Independent, the Times Literary Supplement, the Observer, London Magazine and the Australian.

Reginald Gray is a professional portraitist living in Paris. Born in Dublin, he studied at the National College of Art, became a designer for the Pike and Gate Theatres in Dublin and the Lyric Theatre in London, and held his first one-man exhibition at the Abbott and Holder Gallery in London in 1960. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Gray was involved with the School of London artists led by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach. He moved to Paris in the 1960s, and began this portrait soon after he met Jill Neville there in 1967. They lost touch before it was completed, but he finished the canvas as a tribute to Neville when he heard the news of her death in 1997.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2002
© Reginald Gray

Accession number: 2002.53

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Reginald Gray (age 37 in 1967)

Jill Neville (age 35 in 1967)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.