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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.

Portrait of Captain John Hunter

Goods and chattels

About Face article

I have been reading systematically through the ads in the earliest issues of the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, such a rich vein of information about certain aspects of daily life in Regency Sydney.

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, 1824 by James Thomson

Audacity, audacity, audacity

About Face article

Angus delves into the biographies of two ambitious characters; Sir Stamford Raffles and Sir John Pope-Hennessy.

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.

Death mask of George Melville courtesy of National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Old Melbourne Gaol Collection

A colourful story from Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait
About Face article

From infamous bushranger to oyster shop display, curator Jo Gilmour explores the life of George Melville.

Opening of the First Legislative Council of Victoria, by Governor Charles Joseph LaTrobe, at St Patrick's Hall, Bourke Street West, Melbourne. November 13th 1851. From sketches taken at the time by William Strutt.

Magna Carta

About Face article

On this day eight hundred years ago at Runnymede near Windsor, King John signed Magna Carta.

Sydney Cove medallion, 1789 by Josiah Wedgwood

The medallion

About Face article

In recent years I have become fascinated by the so-called Sydney Cove Medallion (1789), a work of art that bridges the 10,000-mile gap between the newly established penal settlement at Port Jackson and the beating heart of Enlightenment England.

William Bligh

William Bligh

About Face article

The life of William Bligh offers up a handful of the most remarkable episodes in the history of Britain’s eighteenth and early nineteenth-century maritime empire.

Gough Whitlam

Prime Ministers

About Face article

On the day before the Hon. E. G. Whitlam, AC, QC, died last month, at the great age of 98, there were seven former prime ministers of Australia still living, plus the incumbent Mr. Abbott – eight in all.

The National Portrait Gallery's 20th birthday party

The National Portrait Gallery's 20th Anniversary

About Face article

Last month we marked the twentieth anniversary of the formal establishment of the National Portrait Gallery, the tenth of the opening of our signature building, and the fifth of our having become a statutory authority under Commonwealth legislation.

Thomas Woolner

The mystery of Enoch Arden

About Face article

Tennyson's Enoch Arden was inspired by a story that Thomas Woolner passed on to him – but whose story and of whom?

Percy, Reginald, Monty and George Faithfull, undated by Henry Dorner. Image courtesy the National Museum of Australia.

An affray which deserves particular mention

Ben Hall and his gang outdone, 6 February 1865
About Face article

Bushranger Ben Hall and his cronies held around 40 people hostage in a pub north-west of Goulburn, telling their captives ‘don’t be alarmed; we only came here for a bit of fun’.

Little John of Colchester, a poor lunatic, c.1823 by John Dempsey

Dempsey's people

About Face article

Those of you who are active in social media circles may be aware that through the past week I have unleashed a blitz on Facebook and Instagram in connection with our new winter exhibition Dempsey’s People: A Folio of British Street Portraits, 1824−1844.

The selfie stick

About Face article

Last week ABC Television came to interview me about selfie sticks. The story was prompted by the announcement that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has lately prohibited the use of these inside their galleries. So far as I am aware we have not yet encountered the phenomenon, but no doubt we will before too long.

Thomas Woolner

Missing Persons

Thomas Woolner in Australia
About Face article

Desperately seeking Woolner medallions

The Dance - David McAllister

Home is where the art is

About Face article

Tedi Bills on how social media in the age of COVID-19 has fanned the flames of our portrait fascination.

The great South Sea caterpillar transformed into a Bath Butterfly (Sir Joseph Banks)

The Bath Butterfly

About Face article

The caricaturist and engraver James Gillray's biting satires about Sir Joseph Banks. 

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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
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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