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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.

Dion G Boucicault

Tom Roberts

oil on wood panel (frame: 72.5 cm x 44.7 cm, sight: 60.1 cm x 32.3 cm)

On loan to the National Portrait Gallery

Dionysius Boucicault Jnr (1859–1929), actor, came to Australia in 1885 with his father, also named Dionysius, who was a famous playwright and actor. The older Boucicault left the country after triumphant seasons in Melbourne and Sydney, but ‘Dot’ Boucicault stayed on, to thrill audiences with his portrayal of villains. In 1886 he and his sister Nina joined Robert Brough to form the Brough and Boucicault Comedy Company, ushering in a golden age of Australian theatre. The company made its bases in Melbourne’s Bijou Theatre and Sydney’s Criterion, but when the Bijou burned down in 1889, Boucicault lost his large private collection of costumes. After that, although audiences still loved him, he lost interest in the company and in 1896, having toured for three years, he retired exhausted to London. He came back to Australia in 1923 and made a final tour in 1927.

Beleura - The Trustees of The Tallis Foundation, Mornington, Victoria

Accession number: LOAN2008.27

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Tom Roberts

Dion G. Boucicault

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 sisters, 1904
The sisters, 1904
The sisters, 1904
The sisters, 1904

Beguiling impressions

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2012

Sarah Engledow is seduced by the portraits and the connections between the artists and their subjects in the exhibition Impressions: Painting light and life.

Practising the Minuet (Miss Hilda Spong), 1893 Tom Roberts
Practising the Minuet (Miss Hilda Spong), 1893 Tom Roberts
Practising the Minuet (Miss Hilda Spong), 1893 Tom Roberts
Practising the Minuet (Miss Hilda Spong), 1893 Tom Roberts

An actress and her fans

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Dr. Sarah Engledow discovers the amazing life of Ms. Hilda Spong, little remembered star of the stage, who was captured in a portrait by Tom Roberts.

Sir Macfarlane Burnet, 1960-61 William Dargie
Sir Macfarlane Burnet, 1960-61 William Dargie
Sir Macfarlane Burnet, 1960-61 William Dargie
Sir Macfarlane Burnet, 1960-61 William Dargie

Picture this...

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

This edited version of a speech by Andrew Sayers examines some of the antecedents of the National Portrait Gallery and set out the ideas behind the modern Gallery and its collection.

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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.