Skip to main content

Henry Lawson, 1915

William Johnson

silver gelatin photograph (mount: 50.5 cm x 40.5 cm, support: 27.5 cm x 17.5 cm, image: 14.3 cm x 9.6 cm)

Henry Lawson (1867–1922), one of Australia’s defining authors, is best known for his short stories and ballads depicting the hardship of bush life. Lawson spent his childhood on a poor selection in the Mudgee district in New South Wales. He received little formal education, but he was encouraged to read widely by his mother, women’s rights activist and writer Louisa Lawson. A regular contributor to the Bulletin in the 1890s, he supported its nationalist, egalitarian and pro-union stance. In that decade, too, he wrote scores of stories and vignettes, the best of them – such as ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘The Bush Undertaker’ – haunting, profoundly sad and wryly funny all at once. Despite catastrophic bouts of depression and alcoholism that turned him into a shambling, suicidal wraith, Lawson continued to write until his death in Sydney at the age of fifty-five, when he was honoured with a State funeral.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2009

Accession number: 2009.42

Currently not on display

View zoomable image on Google Arts & Culture

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

William Johnson

Henry Lawson (age 48 in 1915)

Subject professions


© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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 of Australia (NPGA) 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.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.