Skip to main content

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Gallery is closed to the public until further notice. Learn more

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.

Two gentlemen celebrating a birthday (Frank Watters and Geoffrey Legge), 1974

Bob Jenyns

painted wood, denim, wool, plastic, 10 candles
Image not available

Geoffrey Legge (b. 1935) and Frank Watters (1934–2020) ran Watters Gallery in Darlinghurst, central Sydney, from 1964 to the end of 2018. Watters grew up in a working-class milieu in Muswellbrook and left school at 15 to work in the coal mines. Having developed an interest in art he moved south and served his apprenticeship in dealing under Barry Stern, then one of the leading gallery owners amongst the very few in Sydney. Legge, an Englishman, was born in Uganda and educated at Charterhouse before coming to Australia, where he studied economics at the University of Melbourne. In 1963 he and his wife Alex rented a house next door to Stern’s gallery and began to ‘hang around’ there. In due course Legge and Watters decided to open their own gallery in Liverpool Street, Surry Hills. Geoffrey Legge, deferring to Watters’s more practised eye for art, insisted that the business be named Watters. Alex Legge kept their accounts throughout the life of the Gallery. In 1969 they took premises in Riley Street, which became an intellectual and artistic hub attracting the likes of Patrick White, who bought many works for the benefit of artists and, ultimately, the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Writing in November 2018 as Legge’s and Watters’s gallery’s closure was imminent, John McDonald declared ‘Watters may not be “fashionable” any longer, but the list of major artists that have shown at the gallery is unmatched by any of their peers.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Frank Watters OAM 2018
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2018.140.a-p

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Bob Jenyns (age 30 in 1974)

Frank Watters OAM (age 40 in 1974)

Geoffrey Legge (age 39 in 1974)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related portraits

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
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Location, accessibility and amenities

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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.