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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.

Queen Alexandra and Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia, Hvidore, circa 1908 by Mary Steen

The cost of living luxuriously

About Face article

In 1904, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia purchased as a gift for her sister, Queen Alexandra, a fan composed of two-color gold, guilloché enamel, mother-of-pearl, blond tortoiseshell, gold sequins, silk, cabochon rubies, and rose diamonds from the House of Fabergé in Saint Petersburg.

Cocky McGrath

About Face article

The long life and few words of a vice-regal cockatoo

Indexing, the art of

About Face article

The first index I created was for my first book, and, to my astonishment, that was almost twenty-five years ago.

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.

The Triumph of Death, c. 1562 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The Black Death

About Face article

The best horror stories are real. A flea sinks its proboscis into the skin of a sick black rat, feeds on its blood, and ingests lethally multiplying bacteria.

Group photograph taken at the coronation of King George VI including Queen Elizabeth II, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Queen Mother, 12 May 1937 by Hay Wrightson

Poise and Carats

About Face article

I keep going back to Cartier: The Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia next door, and, within the exhibition, to Princess Marie Louise’s diamond, pearl and sapphire Indian tiara (1923), surely one of the most superb head ornaments ever conceived.

Forest Creek, Mount Alexander Diggings, 1852 by S. T. Gill

The Rothschilds, the Montefiores, and the Victorian Gold Rush

About Face article

Some years ago my colleague Andrea Wolk Rager and I spent several days in the darkened basement of a Rothschild Bank, inspecting every one of the nearly 700 autochromes created immediately before World War I by the youthful Lionel de Rothschild.

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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