Skip to main content

Victor Trumper
, 1905

by George Beldam and Sun Electric Engraving Company (engraver)

photogravure on paper (sheet: 44.4 cm x 52.1 cm, plate-mark: 37.9 cm x 43.1 cm, image: 30.1 cm x 37.7 cm)

Victor Trumper (1877–1915) is one of Australia’s all-time greatest batsmen. Known for his graceful yet attacking style of play, Trumper played his first cricket in the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills and at eighteen was selected for New South Wales. He made his Test debut at Nottingham in 1899, and during that first of four seasons in England established a reputation as a top batsman. On his second visit in 1902, Wisden described him as ‘the best batsman in the world’. Trumper made 2570 runs in 35 matches for the Australian team, with eleven innings of over a hundred and the extraordinary average, given the terrible weather conditions, of 48. His career peaked in the 1910–1911 series against South Africa in Australia, when he scored 662 runs, averaging 94. He ended his first-class career with 255 matches, 16939 runs, 42 centuries and 87 half-centuries with an average of 44.58. The fair-haired and lithe- figured Trumper was equally admired off the field for his modesty, ‘easiness of approach and suavity of manner’. Many thousands lined Sydney’s streets to farewell him after his death from a kidney disease at age thirty-seven.

George Beldam (1868–1937) played 142 matches for Middlesex, the MCC and London County, but is better known as a pioneer of action photography. Beldam dispensed with the staged, staid formula of earlier sports photographs and experimented instead with shutter speeds of up to one thousandth of a second to ‘obtain accurately the stages in various strokes’. Beldam and Charles Burgess Fry published two cricket manuals, Great bowlers and fielders, their methods at a glance (1907); and Great batsmen: their methods at a glance (1905), which featured this photograph of Trumper ‘jumping out for a straight drive’.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2009
Accession number: 2009.57