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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.

Prue Acton, 2012

David Roberts

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 35.8 cm x 28.0 cm, image: 34.7 cm x 26.9 cm)

Prue Acton OBE (b. 1943) completed a Diploma of Art, majoring in Textiles, in Melbourne in 1962. The following year, with a loan from her parents, she started her own company in Flinders Lane. Following a successful visit to New York in 1967, she was the first Australian designer to break into the American market and was dubbed 'Australia's Mary Quant'. Moving from fun youth-oriented gear to more flowing, hippy-chic styles as she aged, Acton received a number of awards during her career, including five Australian Wool Board Awards, three David Jones Awards for Fashion Excellence and four Fashion Industry of Australia Lyrebird Awards. Throughout her career, Acton maintained the motto 'ageless, timeless, and priceless.' The Melbourne Museum and Powerhouse Museum both have large collections of outfits from the pioneering designer. Having closed her business in the late 1980s, she now paints full-time, and is a prominent spokesperson for the environment of the south coast of New South Wales, where she lives. Acton was featured on an 'Australian Legends' stamp in 2005 and received an honorary doctorate from RMIT in 2007.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© David Roberts

Accession number: 2012.124

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

David Roberts (age 58 in 2012)

Prue Acton OBE (age 69 in 2012)

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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.