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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 Demon Bowler" Frederick Robert Spofforth (image plate from Vanity Fair)

1878
Sir Leslie Ward

chromolithograph on paper (sheet: 39.0 cm x 26.0 cm)

Frederick Robert Spofforth (1853–1926), cricketer, was a member of the Australian cricket team whose defeat of England at The Oval in 1882 brought about ‘The Ashes’ Test series. Born in Balmain, Spofforth started playing club cricket in 1871, was first selected for NSW in 1874, and made his Test debut in 1877. He earned the moniker ‘The Demon’ in 1878 when, as a member of the touring Australian side, he took ten wickets for 20 runs in a match against the Marylebone Cricket Club. Selected for Australia again in 1880 and every year from 1882 to 1887, Spofforth played eighteen Test matches in all, finishing his career with 94 Test wickets at an average of 18.41. He is considered Australia’s first fast bowler, and is also credited with having taken the first ever Test bowling hat-trick (against England in Melbourne in 1879). After retiring from international cricket, he became a bank manager, married, and lived in England, where he contributed occasionally to cricket books and developed an interest in botany and horticulture.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

Artist and subject

Sir Leslie Ward (age 27 in 1878)

Frederick Spofforth (age 25 in 1878)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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.

Vanity fair

Magazine article by Ashleigh Wadman, 2012

Ashleigh Wadman rediscovers the Australian characters represented with a kindly touch by the British portrait artist Leslie Ward for the society magazine Vanity Fair.

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency