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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

James Oswald Fairfax

c. 1991
Bryan Westwood

oil on canvas (frame: 190.5 cm x 159.0 cm, support: 181.0 cm x 150.5 cm)

James Oswald Fairfax AC (1933–2017), philanthropist and company director, was the great-great grandson of John Fairfax, who founded the newspaper company John Fairfax and Sons in 1841. James Fairfax joined the company in the 1950s, serving as director from 1957 to 1987 and as its chairman from 1977 to 1987. Also a major philanthropist and collector, he was a generous donor to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Trust, to which he bequeathed his historic home, Retford Park. He also served on the board of the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children for many years.

Painter and printmaker Bryan Westwood is known for his landscapes, interiors, figurative studies and still life works, but he also created many portraits in his highly realistic but painterly style. This work was among a group of portraits depicting members of several generations of the Fairfax family gifted to the Gallery by John Fairfax Holdings Ltd in 2002. Westwood's portrait shows James Fairfax at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, standing between two seventeenth-century paintings he donated to the institution. On the left is Sir Peter Paul Rubens' Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor (1622) and on the right, Jacob van Ruisdael's Wooded hillside with a view of Bentheim Castle (1655–1660).

Gift of John Fairfax Holdings Ltd 2002. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Bryan Westwood/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Bryan Westwood (age 61 in 1991)

James Fairfax AO (age 58 in 1991)

Donated by

Fairfax Media Limited (13 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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