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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.

Making Sense of Place #4 (Portrait of Professor George Seddon), 2007

Peteris Ciemitis

watercolour and pastel on paper (sheet: 75.5 cm x 58.0 cm, image: 73.3 cm x 55.2 cm)

George Seddon AM (1927-2007), scholar and academic, studied English at Melbourne University before spending several years abroad, travelling and teaching at universities in Europe and North America. He returned to Australia in 1956 to take up a lectureship in English at the University of Western Australia and during this time developed an interest in environmentalism. He completed a BSc in Perth, with a major in geology, and then returned to the USA, attaining masters and doctoral degrees in science from the University of Minnesota. He briefly returned to WA before going back to America and taking up a professorship in geology and geophysics at the University of Oregon. In 1970, he published his first book, Swan River Landscapes. This was followed by many others including A Sense of Place (1972); Your vegetable garden in Australia (1983); A city and its setting (1986); and Searching for the Snowy: an environmental history (1994), which won the Eureka Prize. From 1971 to 1974, Seddon was chair of the History and Philosophy of Science program at the University of NSW. He then became the founding professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Melbourne; and was dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning there from 1982 until 1987. Seddon's other interests included tennis, gardening, botany, photography and languages. He was the recipient of many awards and in 1998 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia. In retirement he lived in Fremantle, where he died in May 2007.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Marli Wallace 2010
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Peteris Ciemitis

Accession number: 2010.140

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Peteris Ciemitis (age 48 in 2007)

George Seddon AM (age 80 in 2007)

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Education and research

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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.

Robyn Archer, 2010
Robyn Archer, 2010
Robyn Archer, 2010
Robyn Archer, 2010

Real close

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2012

Peter Ciemitis breached regulations when creating the portrait of the polymath environmental scientist George Seddon.

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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.