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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.

Ian Roberts (after Coypel 1709), 2003

Ross Watson

oil on composition board (frame: 125.0 cm x 101.5 cm, support: 106.0 cm x 80.0 cm)

Ian Roberts (b. 1965), actor and former Test footballer, remains one of a handful of openly gay professional footballers world-wide. English-born Roberts grew up in South Coogee and began playing for the rugby league club South Sydney in 1986. Four years later, in a move that made him rugby league's highest paid player, he left Souths for Manly. In 1995 he signed with the Super League, and left Manly to captain the North Queensland Cowboys. Remembered as a tough, fair and valorous competitor, Roberts played nine State of Origin games for NSW and thirteen Tests for Australia. In late 2000 he was accepted into the competitive National Institute of Dramatic Art. Since graduating in 2003, he has appeared in feature films, stage productions and television shows in Australia, the USA and the UK, and worked as a baggage handler for Virgin Airlines. Having marched in previous years with the Labor party, in 2017 he joined the NRL float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The same year, he successfully lobbied the NRL to give public support to same-sex marriage.

Ross Watson is a Melbourne artist, whose work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and many private collections, including Sir Elton John's and James Wolfensohn's. Between 1996 and 2001 Watson produced a series of posed figure studies of a barely clad Roberts in obviously staged studio settings. This painting is part of another series titled Galerie des Glaces, or Hall of Mirrors, in which Watson has interpolated lithe twentieth century figures into paintings by Vermeer, Ter Borsch, Bronzino and other old masters. This work is 'after' Antoine Coypel (1661-1722), a French painter in the Baroque style whose most famous production is the ceiling of the Chapel at Versailles (1708).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Ross Watson

Accession number: 2004.22

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Ross Watson (age 41 in 2003)

Ian Roberts (age 38 in 2003)

Donated by

Ross Watson (2 portraits)

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.

Ian Roberts (after Coypel 1709), 2003 Ross Watson
Ian Roberts (after Coypel 1709), 2003 Ross Watson
Ian Roberts (after Coypel 1709), 2003 Ross Watson
Ian Roberts (after Coypel 1709), 2003 Ross Watson

Super League

Magazine article by David Sequeira, 2004

The portrait of Ian Roberts by Ross Watson.

Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead

Electric!

Portraits that pop!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Celebrate the Gallery’s 20th birthday summer with Electric! Portraits that pop! The collection exhibition features a mix of bright, bold and colourful paintings, prints and photographs, and buoyant video portraits.

Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley
Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley
Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley
Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley

Bare

Degrees of undress

Previous exhibition, 2015

Bare: Degrees of undress celebrates the candid, contrived, natural, sexy, ironic, beautiful, and fascinating in Australian portraiture that shows a bit of skin. 

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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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.