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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 Henry Kendall, c. 1890-94

S. Milbourn Jnr

albumen silver photograph on cabinet card (support: 16.5 cm x 10.7 cm, image: 13.5 cm x 10.1 cm)

More images of this artwork

Henry (Thomas Henry) Kendall (1839-1882) was once regarded as the finest poet Australia had produced. Kendall received a limited education and worked on a whaling ship before contributing his first poems to the Month in 1859. In 1861 he commenced employment as a clerk, and by 1866 he was working in the Colonial Secretary’s Office in Sydney. Over this period his reputation as a poet grew through the appearance of the volume Poems and Songs (1862) and his regular contributions to publications in Sydney and Melbourne. The volume Leaves from Australian Forests (1869) garnered critical praise but sold poorly; in late 1870, in bad physical and financial shape, he was charged with forging and uttering a cheque. Successfully defended by WB Dalley on the grounds of insanity, he lost his wife and children, and became a derelict. In due course he was committed to the Gladesville Hospital, but friends took him in, and eventually he was able to regain his family and resume his writing. His Songs from the Mountains (1880) was a great success. Henry Parkes intervened to secure his appointment as inspector of forests in 1881, but the following year he died of tuberculosis. He was the first of a number of prominent Australian poets and literary figures – including Henry Lawson, Dorothea McKellar and Jules Francois Archibald – to be buried in Waverley Cemetery.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008

Accession number: 2008.6

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

S. Milbourn Jnr (age 27 in 1890)

Henry Kendall

Related portraits

1. Adam Lindsay Gordon, 1890-94. All S. Milbourn Jnr.

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.

Henry Lawson, c. 1919 Lionel Lindsay
Henry Lawson, c. 1919 Lionel Lindsay
Henry Lawson, c. 1919 Lionel Lindsay
Henry Lawson, c. 1919 Lionel Lindsay

Regarding Henrys

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

Sarah Engledow ponders the divergent legacies of Messrs Kendall and Lawson.

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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.