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Dion G Boucicault

by 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