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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.

Melodrama..., c. 1900

an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 12.0 cm x 16.8 cm, image: 11.1 cm x 15.5 cm)

This work is from a group of fifteen photographs relating to the artists Lionel (1874–1971) and Norman Lindsay (1879–1979) and their circle, taken at the family home in Creswick, Victoria and at Norman Lindsay’s home in Faulconbridge, New South Wales. According to the inscription on the reverse, this scene shows Will Dyson (left) in the role of ‘the villain’, being foiled by hero Ted Dyson (second from left). Percy Lindsay (centre), the eldest of the nine Lindsay children, is the ‘Guardian angel hovering over a dying child’, played by Reg Lindsay; Mary Lindsay (second from right) plays the child’s ‘Grief stricken mother’ and Ruby Lindsay (right) is the ‘villainess’ of the piece. Percy Lindsay (1870–1952) studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne and later moved to Sydney, where he took over from his brother Lionel as the principal illustrator for the New South Wales Bookstall Co. Ruby Lindsay (1885–1919) also trained at the National Gallery School and, like her brothers, worked as an illustrator for publications such as the Bulletin. She and Will Dyson (1880–1938) married in 1909 and travelled to London, where Dyson’s cartoons attracted a large intellectual following. Dyson was appointed an official war artist for the AIF in 1916. Ruby died in London in 1919 having contracted influenza during the pandemic that emerged at the end of the First World War.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008

Accession number: 2008.101

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Will Dyson (age 20 in 1900)

Edward Dyson (age 35 in 1900)

Percy Lindsay (age 30 in 1900)

Reg Lindsay

Mary Lindsay

Ruby Lindsay (age 15 in 1900)

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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.