Skip to main content
Menu

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.

Browning Mummery

c. 1925
Corona Ltd.

(image: 13.5 cm x 8.5 cm)

Joseph Browning Mummery (1888-1974), was born in inner suburban Melbourne to a musically-inclined family who fostered his interest in singing. He served an apprenticeship as a mechanic, but claimed that his 'thoughts were always on singing', taking lessons and devoting all his 'spare cash and spare time to music'. Mummery's professional singing break came when he successfully auditioned for a touring Italian opera company. He took a month's leave to perform with them in Melbourne, later giving up his full-time job to join the company when it was taken over by J.C Williamson in 1920. In 1921, Mummery went to England and a year later was engaged by the English National Opera Company. By 1926, after further study in Italy, he had made nineteen gramophone recordings and had been contracted at one point to His Master's Voice. Mummery was selected by Nellie Melba to perform in her farewell season of La Bohème at Covent Garden in 1926. In the USA between 1929 and 1932, he became popular as a radio performer, later broadcasting for the BBC on his return to Britain. He remained in Melbourne following his 1934 tour of Australia and became a teacher, but continued to make occasional broadcasts and appearances in Australia and New Zealand. The 'rather Edwardian' Mummery is considered Australia's most celebrated tenor of the interwar years, his repertoire including lead roles in operas such as Madam Butterfly, The Magic Flute and Tosca. In retirement he lived in Canberra, where he died.

Gift of Roger Neill 2009

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

Corona Ltd.

Browning Mummery (age 37 in 1925)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Roger Neill (3 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency