Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

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.

George Nicholas

1955
Paul Fitzgerald

oil on canvas (frame: 76.5 cm x 67.5 cm, support: 62.0 cm x 51.0 cm)

George Nicholas CBE (1884-1960), pharmacist and philanthropist, grew up in South Australia and Victoria. After qualifying in 1912 he opened a pharmacy in Windsor. When World War I cut off German supplies of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), he set out with no instructions and primitive equipment to make some. With freelance entrepreneur Henry Woolf Shmith, he succeeded in producing a batch of pure aspirin; in late 1915, after bureaucratic delays, the pair were licenced to make and sell the drug in Australia. In 1917 they registered the name Aspro. Swapping Shmith for his brother Alfred as his business partner, through the 1920s George expanded his local business and made incursions into overseas markets. Aspro Ltd, an English company established by Alfred, became a public company in 1935. As their wealth increased, the brothers endowed hospitals, colleges and diverse charities; in the 1930s George bought a large stand of mountain ash in Victoria to provide work for unemployed youths. By 1937, they were estimated to have given away more than half a million pounds. Meanwhile, George built up a magnificent garden at Mount Macedon and became a mainstay of the Victoria Racing Club. He was the company's managing director from 1937 until his retirement in 1947, during which period it broadened its products to pharmaceuticals, vitamins and veterinary products; he lived to see the opening of a new large plant at Chadstone in 1957.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Hilton Nicholas AM OBE 2010
© Estate of Paul Fitzgerald

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

Paul Fitzgerald (age 33 in 1955)

George Nicholas CBE (age 71 in 1955)

Donated by

Hilton Nicholas AM OBE (1 portrait)

Related portraits

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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