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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.

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.

Michael with beetroot sprouting

2008
Janet Dawson

pastel on paper (sheet: 76.7 cm x 56.2 cm)

Michael Boddy (1934–2014) was born in England and educated at Cambridge before arriving in Australia as a 'ten quid migrant' in 1960. After working in theatre in Melbourne he moved to Sydney, where he won several awards for his work as a writer, actor and director in film, theatre, television and radio. His Cradle of Hercules, commissioned for the opening season of the Sydney Opera House and starring Jack Charles and David Gulpilil, was one of the first plays to feature Aboriginal actors in leading roles. His wife Janet Dawson, who painted sets for many of Boddy's productions, won the Archibald with a portrait of him in 1973. The following year the couple relocated to Binalong, New South Wales. Asked why they moved, Boddy said: 'Our marriage is one long conversation. We moved to the bush so we could talk to each other without so many interruptions.' Boddy became a regular columnist for the Canberra Times and the Australian on food, consumer affairs, natural history, sustainability and small farming; he wrote Michael Boddy's Good Food Book, and co-wrote Surviving in the Eighties. Much of what he wrote in the 1980s and 1990s startlingly anticipated the widespread current interest in locally-grown, organic and artisanal food.

Purchased 2015
© Janet Dawson/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Janet Dawson (age 73 in 2008)

Michael Boddy (age 74 in 2008)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency