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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.

Cooey: an Australian song

Cooey! An Australian Song

About Face article

"Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey—Love has caught the strain, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey—it whispers back again." The “Australian lady” who composed these fruity lyrics was none other than Desda— Jane Davies, sometime Messiter (née Price) of Leddicott, Lavender Bay.

Henry Louis Bertrand, ca. 1865 photographed by the Milligan Brothers. Collection of the State Library of NSW

A passion eating into your vitals

The ‘Mad Dentist of Wynyard Square’ in court, 18 December 1865
About Face article

The salacious and sordid details of Henry Kinder’s death transfixed Sydneysiders with a case combining murder with seduction, mesmerism, blackmail and poisoning.

Ellen Stirling

Very fine and very like

About Face article

When did notions of very fine and very like become separate qualities of a portrait? And what happens to 'very like' in the age of photographic portraiture?

Angus Trumble with Self portrait at easel by Fred Williams

Autumn in Canberra

About Face article

In Persuasion (1818), a long walk on a fine autumn day affords Anne Elliot an opportunity to ruminate wistfully and at great length upon declining happiness, youth and hope.

Olegas Truchanas

Giving a dam

True south #1
About Face article

Ensconced and meditative in crisp Tasmania, Joanna Gilmour pays tribute to passionate green advocate and photographer Olegas Truchanas.

Anna Matveyevna Pavlova (1885–1931)

The Pavlova

About Face article

It is a painful truth, but one which must be faced up to, that the pavlova, that iconic Australian dessert, a staple since the 1930s, was actually invented in New Zealand.

Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and David R. L. Litchfield at Villa Favorita, Lugano, Switzerland, 1989 © Nicola Graydo

The Thyssen Art Macabre

About Face article

Books seldom make me angry but this one did. At first, I was powerfully struck by the uncanny parallels that existed between the Mellons of Pittsburgh and the Thyssens of the Ruhr through the same period, essentially the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Christmas Island

About Face article

This is my last Trumbology before, in a little more than a week from now, I pass to my successor Karen Quinlan the precious baton of the Directorship of the National Portrait Gallery.

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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.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency