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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.

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John Shirlow

c. 1937
Julian Smith

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image: 46.6 cm x 36.1 cm)

John Shirlow (1869–1936) etcher, was the first Australian to make etching the basis of his career. Schooled in Melbourne, he studied for a time with Arthur Loureiro and attended design classes at the National Gallery School from 1890 to 1895. In 1904 he published Five Etchings, the first portfolio by a painter-etcher in Australia; it was followed by three other art books – including The Etched Work of John Shirlow, (1920), edited by his friend Robert Henderson Croll – and a school textbook on perspective. Specialising in renderings of old Melbourne buildings, which are now of great historical interest, he drew directly onto the plate in reverse. In 1929 he founded etching classes at the Working Men’s Institute. Throughout his life a prominent figure on the Victorian art scene, he was involved in various choirs and bushwalked with Croll and poet CJ Dennis. He was a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria from 1922 to 1936.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011

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

Julian Smith (age 64 in 1937)

John Shirlow

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related portraits

1. The Surgeon (Dr Julian Smith), 1934. All Harold Cazneaux.

Related information

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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 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.

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