Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

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.

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

Artist and subject

David Roberts (age 58 in 2012)

Prue Acton OBE (age 69 in 2012)

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 both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency