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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.

Peter Porter, 2009

Norman McBeath

bromide fibre print (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.4 cm, image: 25.4 cm x 25.2 cm)

Peter Porter OAM (1929-2010), poet and critic, moved from Brisbane to London in 1951 at age 22. His work as an advertising copywriter influenced his early poetry, lucidly evoking the culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s. British poet Stephen Spender described Porter's mind as 'immensely fertile, lively, informed, honest and penetrating'. Porter's first collection of poems, Once Bitten, Twice Bitten, was published in Britain in 1961. The death of his wife in 1974 gave rise to the poetry collection The Cost of Seriousness (1978). Porter's straddling of Australian and English culture remained central to his work, evoking urban and natural worlds. In 1990 Porter was awarded the Gold Medal of Australian Literature, and in 2002, the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Norman McBeath 2011

Accession number: 2011.12

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Norman McBeath (age 57 in 2009)

Peter Porter OAM (age 80 in 2009)

Donated by

Norman McBeath (2 portraits)

Related portraits

1. Les Murray, 2003. All Norman McBeath.

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Les Murray, 1995 David Naseby
Les Murray, 1995 David Naseby
Les Murray, 1995 David Naseby
Les Murray, 1995 David Naseby

Poets' Portraits

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The Portrait Gallery's paintings of two poets, Les Murray and Peter Porter, demonstrate two very different artists' responses to the challenge of representing more than usually sensitive and imaginative men.

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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.