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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.

Bill Dyson and an unknown model

c. 1903
an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (support: 19.4 x 24.0, sheet: 16.8 x 21.7, image: 16.1 cm x 17.9 cm)

Will (William Henry) Dyson, cartoonist, caricaturist, writer and draughtsman, was born in Alfredtown, near Ballarat, and studied for a short time in Melbourne, where he worked closely with his older brother Ambrose. Dyson's first cartoon appeared in the Sydney Bulletin in 1897, in which year he also exhibited in the first show of the Society of Artists. Thirteen years later he married Ruby Lindsay, sister of his friend Norman, and they all went to London together, but the two men soon quarrelled irrevocably. In the first years of World War I Dyson's cartoons became famous in London and he gained a large intellectual following. He was appointed an official war artist for the AIF in 1916, and his Australia at War (1918) remains one of the most powerful tributes to Australian involvement in the conflict. Dyson returned to Australia after Ruby Lindsay died in the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1919. He was feted in Melbourne, where he subsequently worked for the short-lived Punch and the Herald and exerted some influence on the local art scene. During this period he drew portrait caricatures of visiting celebrities including Anna Pavlova and the opera singer Fyodor Chaliapin. Dyson left Australia permanently in 1930, stopping in New York, where his drypoint etchings were well received, before settling in London.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008

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

Will Dyson (age 23 in 1903)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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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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