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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.

George and Jemima Billet with family

Costantini's convictions

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2017

Jo Gilmour uncovers endearing authenticity in the art of a twice-transported Tasmanian.

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm

The Wonder Years

Magazine article by Sarah Hill, 2001

Sarah Hill introduces the portrait busts of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm by Enid Fleming.

Charles Teo

Charlie's angles

Magazine article by Stephen Phillips, 2017

Stephen Phillips talks to neurosurgeon Charlie Teo about his practice, perspectives and the anatomy of hope.

Adut Akech, 2018 Charles Dennington

Peripheral vision

Magazine article by Aimee Board, 2020

Aimee Board chats to emerging photographer Charles Dennington.

Self portrait

Fine and dandy

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Whether the result of misadventure or misdemeanour, many accomplished artists were transported to Australia where they ultimately left a positive mark on the history of art in this country.

The family

Big bouquet of Blackmans

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr. Sarah Engledow explores the context surrounding Charles Blackman's portrait of Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith.

The last of England 1855

Pre-Raphaelite Profile

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

In 2006 the National Portrait Gallery acquired a splendid portrait of Victoria's first governor, Lieutenant Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe by Thomas Woolner.

Charles Haddon Chambers

Suave

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Charles Haddon Chambers the Australian-born playboy playwright settled permanently in London in 1880 but never lost his Australian stance when satirising the English.

Sir Charles Lloyd Jones

Home and away

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sir William Dobell painted the portraits of Sir Charles Lloyd Jones and Sir Hudson Fysh, who did much to promote the image of Australia in this country and abroad.

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.

Portrait 43

June - August 2012
Magazine

This issue features Cindy Sherman, Tim Storrier, Brett Whiteley and Patrick White, contemporary Chinese portraiture, Charles Blackman and more.

Portrait 64

Summer 2019/20
Magazine

Marian Anderson, emerging photographer Charles Dennington, piscatorial portraits, and the poignant path of photographer Polixeni Papapetrou and more.

Portrait 54

Spring 2016
Magazine

Explore an Indian treasure trove, photography by Robert McFarlane and Nan Goldin, Michael Taylor's expressionist paintings, the Great War portraits, and more!

Self portrait

Sir William Dargie CBE

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Sir William Dargie, painter and eight times winner of the Archibald Prize for portraiture, died in Melbourne on July 26, 2003, aged 91.

image not online

All in the Family

Magazine article by Barbara Blackman AO, 2003

In 2000, Barbara Blackman donated a portrait of her close friends - poet Judith Wright, her husband Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith - painted by Charles Blackman.

Portrait 63

Winter 2019
Magazine

Rod McNicol's method and motivation, 19th century Indigenous peoples, Barrie Cassidy on Bob Hawke, five generations of the Kang family from Korea and more.

Sappho, 1865

Mrs Cameron and the V&A

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

In March 2003 Magda Keaney travelled to London to join the photography section of the Victoria & Albert Museum for three months.

Nancy Bird Walton, c. 1938

The aviatrix

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the extraordinary life of Australian female aviator Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE

Portrait bust of Dr Christine Rivett

In the round

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2009

Andrew Sayers outlines the highlights of the National Portrait Gallery's display of portrait sculpture.

Sidney Myer

Four from the 30s

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

Australia's tradition of sculpted portraits stretches back to the early decades of the nineteenth century and continues to sustain a group of dedicated sculptors.

William Charles Wentworth -The Australian Patriot

The Wentworths – Hidden in Plain Sight

Magazine article by Grace Carroll, 2015

Grace Carroll on the gendered world of the Wentworths.

Sir Sidney Kidman

The fat of the land

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sir Sidney Kidman (1857-1935) is inscribed in Australian legend as the ‘Cattle King’. 

Barbara Blackman

Life class

Magazine article by Leonie Hellmers, 2004

Barbara Blackman reflects on her experiences as a life model.

James Oswald Fairfax

The Fairfax Gift

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

This article examines the portraits gifted to the National Portrait Gallery by Fairfax Holdings in 2003.

Sir William Charles Windeyer

Private virtues public lives

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Family affections are preserved in a fine selection of intimate portraits.

Self portrait

Expect the unexpected

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour revels in accidental artist Charles Rodius’ nineteenth century renderings of Indigenous peoples.

The National Portrait Gallery

In the galleries

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Christopher Chapman highlights the inaugural hang of the new National Portrait Gallery building which opened in December 2008.

Betty Bryant, c. 1939

The life of Bryant

Magazine article by Tenille Hands, 2018

Tenille Hands explores a portrait prize gifted to the National Screen and Sound Archive.

Victor Trumper

Top shot that

Magazine article by Gideon Haigh, 2009

Gideon Haigh discusses portraits of Australian cricketers from the early 20th century

Venetia, Lady Digby, circa 1633-1634 by Sir Anthony van Dyck

Love in the extreme

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2020

Joanna Gilmour reveals love’s more intense manifestations in the tale of Lord Kenelm and Venetia Digby.

The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987

Hall of mirrors

Magazine article by Naomi Cass, 2007

Naomi Cass, Director of the Centre of Contemporary Photography, in conversation with Anne Zahalka.

The Rajah quilt, 1841 by Kezia Hayter

Material culture

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2018

The Rajah Quilt’s narrative promptings are as intriguing as the textile is intricate.

Installing David Walsh

On the road again

Magazine article by Dr Deborah Hill, 2017

Deborah Hill talks figures with character, as the National Portrait Gallery touring exhibitions program welcomes its millionth visitor.

MacKenzie family silhouette

All there in black and white

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

The National Portrait Gallery acquired a beguiling silhouette group portrait by Samuel Metford, an English artist who spent periods of his working life in America.

Mirka Mora

It's a Mora!

Magazine article by Tedi Bills, 2016

Select extracts from Mirka Mora's autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous, provide rich accompaniment to recent Gallery acquisitions.  

Senator Bonner

Black tie or wombat: How formal should I go?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

Michael Desmond discusses the portrait of Senator Neville Bonner by Robert Campbell Jnr.

Amy Johnson wearing a woollen suit from the collection of flight clothes designed by Madame Schiaparelli for her solo flight from London to Cape Town, 1938 unknown photographer

Air wear

Magazine article by Esther Agostino, 2015

Aviation carried women’s roles in society to greater heights – fashion followed suit.

Potters' Portrait Pot

Of human clay

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

The first collaborative commission has arrived. It's a self portrait, it's ceramic and it's from Hermannsburg.

Bee Miles

Good, bad and the ugly

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond explores what makes a portrait subject significant.

Francois-Marius Granet, 1807

Ingres in Paris

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2006

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was one of the greatest portrait painters in history.

Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)

Chance encounter

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and times of one of Melbourne's early socialites, Jessie Eyre Williams.

Dame Mabel Brookes

The hands have it

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2016

Angus Trumble treats the gallery’s collection with a dab hand.

Sisters, 2015 by André Brönnimann

Adam’s Prize Apples

Magazine article by Pamela Gerrish Nunn, 2016

Pamela Gerrish Nunn explores New Zealand’s premium award for portraiture.

Self portrait

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

Sydney Ure Smith

Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

Johanna McMahon revels in history and mystery in pursuit of a suite of unknown portrait subjects.

Jim Conway

Selfhood transcended

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders and Dr Christopher Chapman, 2018

Anne Sanders and Christopher Chapman bring passionate characterisation to Express Yourself, the Portrait Gallery collection exhibition celebrating iconoclastic Australians.

Clifton Pugh and John Olsen, Dunmoochin

Poet of the Fleeting Moment

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

Mark Strizic's work crosses a broad spectrum of photographic fields including urban, industrial, commercial, and architectural photography. 

Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane

Natural born stiller

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist speaks to Robert McFarlane about shooting for the stars.

High school, 2008

Subtle emotion

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Christopher Chapman considers photographer Rozalind Drummond's portrait of author Nam Le.

Les Murray

Poets' Portraits

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The Portrait Gallery's paintings of two poets, Les Murray and Peter Porter, demonstrate two very different artists' responses to the challenge of representing more than usually sensitive and imaginative men.

Mutiny on the Bounty (The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship the Bounty)

High & Bligh

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Joanna Gilmour explores the 1790 portrait of William Bligh by Robert Dodd.

John Monash

Lauded legacy

Magazine article by Karl James, 2015

Karl James gives short shrift to doubts about the profile of General Sir John Monash.

Facing Australia, Composite portrait: Facing St Lucia, 2003

Conflicting images

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

Michael Desmond reveals the origins of composite portraits and their evolution in the pursuit of the ideal.

Tracey

Sophisticated and glamorous

Magazine article by Amanda Rowell, 2015

Michael Riley’s early portraits by Amanda Rowell.

Edward John Eyre

Hearts of Darkness

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2006

The National Portrait Gallery's acquisition of the portrait of Edward John Eyre by pioneering English photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

Cachasunghia, Osage Warrior 1804–06 by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin

Political profiles

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

Joanna Gilmour examines the prolific output of Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin, and discovers the risk of taking a portrait at face value.

Lady Barkly

A real Pratt

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

The death of a gentlewoman is shrouded in mystery, a well-liked governor finds love after sorrow, and two upright men become entangled in the historical record.

A woman of New South Wales, c. 1840

More cash than dash

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2011

Joanna Gilmour describes how colonial portraitists found the perfect market among social status seeking Sydneysiders.

Alexander Pearce
executed for murder
July 19th 1824

Public hanging

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

As a convict Thomas Bock was required to sketch executed murders for science; as a free man, fashionable society portraits.

Clifton Pugh painting in the studio

Painting mates

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.

Martin Sharp

Oz and beyond

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2007

Martin Sharp fulfils the Pop art idiom of merging art and life.

"Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?", 1956

Pop goes the preconception

Magazine article by Paul Moorhouse, 2007

A National Portrait Gallery, London exhibition redefines portraiture, shifting the focus towards a new perspective on Pop Art.

Edward Paine Butler

Poison pen

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond examines the career of the eighteenth-century suspected poisoner and portrait artist Thomas Griffiths Wainewright.

General Birdwood, the Idol of Anzac, taking a dip in the sea after a hard days work 1915

In the thick of it

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Projecting the splendour of the empire, and the resolve of its subjects, the bust of William Birdwood keeps a stiff upper lip in the National Portrait Gallery.

Nicole Kidman

Australians in Hollywood

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2003

The exhibition Australians in Hollywood celebrated the achievements of Australians in the highly competitive American film industry.

Tom Wills, c. 1870 by William Handcock

Secure the shadow ere the substance fade

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

The tragic tale of Tom Wills, the ‘inventor’ of Australian Rules Football.

Portrait of George Selth Coppin

The Multifarious Career of George Selth Coppin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

George Selth Coppin (1819-1906) comedian, impresario and entrepreneur, was a driving force of the early Australian theatre.

The Cutmear sisters, Jane and Lucy, c. 1842

A man of superior attainments

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of a colonial portrait artist, writer and rogue Thomas Griffiths Wainewright.

Portrait of William Manning, c.1821 by Henry Bone

Of beef in burgundy

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2017

Angus Trumble reveals the complex technical mastery behind a striking recent acquisition, Henry Bone’s enamel portrait of William Manning.

Untitled (girl on chair with red shoes) by Violet Frisby

Finding Mrs Frisby

Magazine article by Robyn Sweaney, 2016

Robyn Sweaney's quiet Violet obsession.

Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, Marquis de Vaudreuil, ca.1753-55

Canadian identities

Magazine article by Lilly Koltun, 2004

An exploration of national identity in the Canadian context drawn from the symposium Face to Face at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2004.

Miles from nowhere, 2008 (printed 2014) from the Games of consequence series 2008 Polixeni Papapetrou

Mother’s muse

Magazine article by Inga Walton, 2020

Inga Walton traces the poignant path of photographer Polixeni Papapetrou, revealed in the NGV’s summer retrospective.

Portrait of Troppo Architects, 2009

Thinking about architecture and portraiture

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Dr Christopher Chapman describes the experimental exhibition Portraits + Architecture

Jessie Street

Worth her salt

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Jerrold Nathan's portrait of Jessie Street shows the elegant side of a many-faceted lady.

Self portrait

Of ice and men

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Frank Hurley's celebrated images document the heroism and minutiae of Australian exploration in Antarctica.

Tony Bilson

Eating the seasons

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2019

Anne Sanders imbibes Tony Bilson’s gastronomic revolution.

NPPP finalists

20 20

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow picks some favourites from a decade of the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Confessional conversations

The portraiture of Kristin Headlam
Magazine article by Fiona Gruber, 2015

Fiona Gruber investigates the work of Australian painter Kristin Headlam.

Studio portrait of Lord Kitchener, British Secretary of State for War, 1914 by J Russell & Sons

All the way with K of K

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2016

Sarah Engledow bristles at the biographers’ neglect of Kitchener’s antipodean intervention.

Revd Dr Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, c.1795 by Sir Henry Raeburn

Great Scots

Magazine article by Diana O'Neil, 2017

Diana O’Neil samples the tartan treats on offer in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Charles Summers

The importance of being bearded

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2012

Joanna Gilmour discovers that the beards of the ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills were as epic as their expedition to traverse Australia from south to north.

Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster

To the end of the earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

The portrait of Dr. Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster from 1780, is one of the oldest in the NPG's collection.

Professor Peter Doherty

Friends and Acquaintances

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr. Sarah Engledow discusses a collection of drawings and prints by the Victorian artist Rick Amor acquired in 2005.

First-Class Marksman, 1946 by Sidney Nolan

Money for Myth

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2015

Australian character on the market by Jane Raffan.

Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984

The activist A-list

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow examines a number of figures in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery who were pioneers or substantial supporters of the seminal Australian environmental campaigns of the early 1970s and 1980s.

Ned Kelly death mask

Getting a head

Magazine article by Alexandra Roginski, 2015

Alexandra Roginski gets a feel for phrenology’s fundamentals.

Eileen Dunne in The Hospital for Sick Children, 1940

The incomparable Beaton

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

To accompany the exhibition Cecil Beaton: Portraits, held at the NPG in 2005, this article is drawn from Hugo Vickers's authorised biography, Cecil Beaton (1985).

Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de La Perouse, c. 1785

Sea legged frogs

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2011

Joanna Gilmour describes some of the stories of the individuals and incidents that define French exploration of Australia and the Pacific.

Self portrait

The Dissecting Room

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Joanna Gilmour accounts for Australia’s deliciously ghoulish nineteenth century criminal portraiture. 

Sir Lawrence Wackett

Starry knight

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Aircraft designer, pilot and entrepreneur, Sir Lawrence Wackett rejoins friends and colleagues on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery.

Margot Rhys, 1935 by Athol Shmith

Progressive pictures

Magazine article by Aimee Board, 2017

Athol Shmith’s photographs contributed to the emergence of a new vision of Australian womanhood.

Waterfall in Australia, c. 1830 by Augustus Earle

Augustus serendipitous

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

The London-born son of an American painter, Augustus Earle ended up in Australia by accident in January 1825. 

Billy Hughes paperweight

Mugshots

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

A toast to the acquisition of an unconventional new portrait of former Prime Minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce.

The artist and her family, c. 1854 by Martha Berkeley

Presence and absence

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2018

The art of Australia’s colonial women painters affords us an invaluable, alternative perspective on the nascent nation-building project.

Sarah Bernhardt, 1876 by Georges Clairin

Demimonde liaisons

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2017

Jane Raffan feasts on modernity’s entrée in the Belle Époque theatre of the demimonde.

Lady Jane Grey, c.1590-1600 (also known as The ‘Streatham’ portrait) Artist unknown

The Royal she

Magazine article by Inga Walton, 2019

Traversing paint and pixels, Inga Walton examines portraits of select women in Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits.

Madame du Barry, 1791 by Richard Cosway

Little women

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour looks beyond the ivory face of select portrait miniatures to reveal their sitters’ true grit.

Practising the Minuet (Miss Hilda Spong)

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.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, 1885-86 by 
John Singer Sargent

A feast of friends

Magazine article by Richard Ormond, 2015

John Singer Sargent: a painter at the vanguard of contemporary movements in music, literature and theatre.

Henry Lawson

Regarding Henrys

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

Sarah Engledow ponders the divergent legacies of Messrs Kendall and Lawson.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN

Thrown together

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Shipmates for years, James Cook and Joseph Banks each kept a journal but neither man shed light on their relationship.

Helen Blaxland judging flower arrangements, c. 1940s photographer unknown

Petal to the mettle

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow lauds the very civil service of Dame Helen Blaxland.

Patrick Ryan, 1968 by Mark Strizic

The silent partner

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

One half of the team that was Eltham Films left scarcely a trace in the written historical record, but survives in a vivid portrait.

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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.

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