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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.

Lady Knox

c. 1927-1929
W B McInnes

oil on canvas (frame: 130.0 cm x 111.0 cm, support: 109.0 cm x 89.5 cm)

Edith Knox (1855–1942), matriarch, was a daughter of Janet and Scottish-born merchant and businessman Joseph Scaife Willis, who was president of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and a founding director of the Sydney Exchange Co. Born in Sydney, Edith grew up in a house called Greycliffe in Vaucluse. In 1878 she married Edward Knox, managing director of the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. and later an administrator at the University of Sydney and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Five years later they moved into Rona in Bellevue Hill, which was destined to be home to five generations of the family. Ned and Edith Knox had four daughters. One of their granddaughters, Helen Rutledge, returned to live at Rona in 1978. In her family history, My Grandfather's House (1986), she writes that pictures of her grandmother 'do not do her justice; in most of them she looks sad or stern … she did not smile much with her mouth, but she did with her lovely eyes'. Edith contributed to various charitable causes, including the Queen's Jubilee Fund and the 19th Battalion Comforts Fund.

William Beckwith (Bill) McInnes won the Archibald Prize seven times, writing in defence of his conservative work that 'in Australia we have not been bitten by Cubism or Futurism or other isms … and I am glad of it'.

Gift of Mrs Caroline Philippa Parker 2005. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

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

W B McInnes (age 38 in 1927)

Lady Edith Knox (age 72 in 1927)

Donated by

Mrs Caroline P. Parker (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.

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark

Portraits for Posterity

Previous exhibition, 2006

Drawn from some of the many donations made to the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Portraits for Posterity pays homage both to the remarkable (and varied) group of Australians who are portrayed in the portraits and the generosity of the many donors who have presented them to the Gallery.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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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