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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.

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott

2013 (cast 2016)
Willow Legge

cast bronze on granite base (including base: 49.0 cm x 19.0 cm depth 24.0 cm)

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott AM (1935–2013) was a self-described potter, whose international reputation was built on her exquisite still-life assemblages of refined, spare vessels in subtle colours and shapes. After becoming enchanted by Chinese ceramics at the National Gallery of Victoria as a student, she moved to Mittagong in 1955 to train with Ivan McMeekin, a devotee of Chinese pots. Not long after, she left for England, where she worked with leading potters, and established studios in London and then Achères, France. In 1973 she moved to Tasmania and set up a studio there, and later lived in Queensland. The National Gallery of Victoria mounted a retrospective of her work in 2006. Hanssen Pigott died while in London for a group exhibition at the Erskine, Hall & Coe gallery in Mayfair.

In the early 1960s Hanssen Pigott became friends with sculptor Willow Legge, with whom she stayed during her regular trips in England. As Legge noted: 'Because of the fleeting nature of her visits it was only during the final one that I finally decided it was high time I made a portrait of her when we were both approaching our eighties. Unfortunately I had to finish it posthumously because she suffered her final stroke before it was completed. Luckily I knew her very well and had also taken some good photographs.'

Gift of the artist 2016
© Willow Legge

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

Willow Legge (age 79 in 2013)

Gwyn Hannsen Pigott (age 78 in 2013)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Willow Legge (1 portrait)

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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.

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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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