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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.

Leah King-Smith

Contributing artists

Born: 1957, Gympie, QLD
Works: Brisbane

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm

Extraordinary airmen make aviation history

Passion

Charles is my wingman

Charles, 2015 video: 7 minutes

Charles, 2015

by Amiel Courtin-Wilson
General content

Winner, DPA 2016

Ben Roberts-Smith

Ben Roberts-Smith, 2018

by Julian Kingma
General content

Commissioned in 2018 with funds raised through the 2020 project

Rod McNicol

Rod McNicol

Winner, National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012
General content

Rod McNicol on photographing Jack Charles.

Wild Man, 2005 by Ron Mueck

Ron Mueck

More about In the flesh artists

Ron Mueck grew up in Melbourne and began a career in puppetry and special-effects based in the US and then London. In the mid-1990s Charles Saatchi commissioned four major works including Dead dad, which were exhibited in Saatchi’s exhibition ‘Sensation’ at the Royal Academy, London and which travelled to Berlin and Brooklyn.

Contributing artists

General content

Find out more from each of the artists reinterpreting and reimagining elements of Australian history.

Charles (still from video)  by Amiel Courtin-Wilson

The Winner of the Digital Portraiture Award 2016 is...

2 December 2016
Archived media releases 2016

The winner of the Digital Portraiture Award 2016 has been announced. Congratulations to Amiel Courtin-Wilson for his submission titled Charles.

The Brougham

The Brougham

Beards

A philosopher-style of beard – thick and lengthy; a greyer, hence wiser version of the Burke; and suited to older men who saw themselves as sagacious or statesmanlike.

The Lambert

The Lambert

Beards

Barbering manuals of the turn of the century might describe this style as a ‘Van Dyck’, named after the Dutch painter Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) who is known to have adopted this look.

The family

Literary lovers’ life liaison

Lust

Desire drives forbidden love

image not online

Annual Appeal

Listed by year
Honour board
Mirka and Philippe - 9 Collins Street

New Australians bring creative wealth

Nearest & Dearest

Melbourne’s iconic culture-shapers

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester

Inside Heide’s lives

It's Complicated

Happiness to heartache

Beadle, Winchester, 1823 by John Dempsey

Beadles, bellmen and bumbles

General content

For Dempsey’s people their occasional encounters with state power would have been largely through the local parish, which administered the ‘Old Poor Law’.

David Malouf

2012-13 Supporters

Annual Appeal 2020

The Circle of Friends Acquisition Fund for 2012 was dedicated to purchasing a portrait of David Malouf by Rick Amor.

George and Jemima Billet with family

In the most correct style

Nearest & Dearest

Desirable outcomes, undesirable origins

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Donors

$10,000 - $49,999
Honour board
Judith Wright with Barbara Blackman

Friendship’s rhyme and reason

Nearest & Dearest

Poetic trio

Thomas Woolner

The 1850s to the 1880s

Mo and beard timeline

The restrained and cultivated facial hair fashions evident through the first decades of the 1800s were on the wane by the middle of the century, when hirsute faces became mainstream.

Maryan, 2010 by Rod McNicol

Rod McNicol

18 June 2015
Archived media releases 2015

Australian photographer Rod McNicol has consistently analysed the passing of time through the evidence of the photographic portrait. At once confronting and tender, McNicol’s portrait photographs are bold and intimate.

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Portrait Donors

Listed by year
Honour board
Jessica Mauboy

National Portrait Gallery unveils twenty new portrait commissions to celebrate twenty years

18 October 2018
Archived media releases 2018

The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled twenty new portrait commissions of Australian leaders and individualists as part of its twentieth birthday celebrations in a new exhibition, 20/20: Celebrating twenty years with twenty new portrait commissions.

Finalists announced for National Photographic Portrait Prize

14 November 2018
Archived media releases 2018

The National Portrait Gallery would like to congratulate the forty finalists for the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019.

Billy the match man, Liverpool, 1844 by John Dempsey

Rare Set of Watercolour Paintings on Display for the First Time

15 June 2017
Archived media releases 2017

A rare and enchanting collection of 52 portraits of British street people will be on display for the first time in the National Portrait Gallery’s winter show, Dempsey’s People: a folio of British street portraits 1824-1844.

Bathing woman, Bridlington, c.1825 by John Dempsey

Allow me to introduce...

General content

These full-length figures in watercolour, gouache and pencil date mostly from the 1820s, and almost all come from the collection of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.

Reg Richardson AM

2015-17 Supporters

Annual Appeal 2020

From 2015 to 2017 the Acquisition Fund was focussed on Reg Richardson AM by Mitch Cairns, a finalist in the Archibald Prize 2014, and a great example of minimalist portraiture.

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG

31 August 2015
Archived media releases 2015

The Chairman, Board, Director and all the Staff of the National Portrait Gallery mourn the loss of our Founding Patron, who died peacefully in Melbourne this morning. He was 94.

Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown

Australian Love Stories

4 January 2021
Media

A major new exhibition celebrating love in all its guises. Opening 20 March 2021.

spaces between movement and stillness

Harriet Schwarzrock: spaces between movement and stillness

10 February 2021
Media

To celebrate the new exhibition Australian Love Stories, renowned Australian glass artist Harriet Schwarzrock has been commissioned to make a large-scale installation reflecting on the role the heart plays as our emotional centre.

Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne

NPPP 2009 exhibition essay

General content

Dr Christopher Chapman, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2009 Prize.

The vigil, 2011 by Anthony Anderton

Anthony Anderton

NPPP 2012 learning resource

An interview with the photographer.

Elizabeth

The National Portrait Prizes

29 January 2020
Archived media releases 2020

The National Portrait Gallery today announced finalists for the inaugural Darling Portrait Prize, a national new $75,000 prize for Australian portrait painting, and released selected images from the final prize pool for the popular National Photography Portrait Prize.

Janet Dawson, 2016 by Mark Mohell

Janet Dawson

Explore The Popular Pet Show

When soulmates Janet Dawson and Michael Boddy moved from Sydney to a property, Boddy was clear about why: ‘Our marriage is one long conversation - we moved to the bush so we could talk to each other without so many interruptions.’

Barry Humphries

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling
General content

Sarah Engledow writes about Gordon and Marilyn Darling and their support for the National Portrait Gallery throughout its evolution.

Marilyn Ball, Albatross, 2018 (detail) by Linde Ivimey

So Fine

17 May 2018
Archived media releases 2018

The National Portrait Gallery is pleased to announce its winter exhibition is So Fine: Contemporary women artists make Australian history. It will open to the public from 29 June 2018.

Marilyn Ball, Albatross, 2018 (detail) by Linde Ivimey

So Fine

28 June 2018
Archived media releases 2018

Ten women artists explore the possibilities of portraiture as a contemporary art form; and reinterpret and reimagine Australian history in the Portrait Gallery’s new exhibition So Fine: Contemporary women artists make Australian history.

George Reid paperweight

Some prime ministers

General content

Sarah Engledow explores the history of the prime ministers and artists featured in the exhibition.

Dr Anne Sanders

Less than six degrees of separation

Lecture, 28 May 2011
General content

Dr Anne Sanders NPG Curatorial Researcher investigated the lives of the pioneering psychologists whose portraits are featured in Inner Worlds.

Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London

Announcing Shakespeare to Winehouse

24 November 2021
Media

More than eighty treasures from the National Portrait Gallery London will travel to Canberra for a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from March 2022.

Eden, 2011 by Arianne McNaught

Arianne McNaught

NPPP 2012 learning resource

An interview with the photographer.

Basil steps out, 2016 by Kristin Headlam
Courtesy the artist and Charles Nodrum Gallery

Kristin Headlam

Explore The Popular Pet Show

Basil grew into a speckled beauty – a long-legged leaper and an exceptionally vocal dog, with a great register of sounds, ascending in shock value from a whimper to a growl to a bark to a yelp that’s a violation of the ears.

Trevor Jamieson, 2016 by Brett Canet-Gibson

The more things change...

NPPP 2017 exhibition essay
General content

Dr Sarah Engledow, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2017 Prize.

The Art Lovers - Megan, 2013 by Gary Grealy

Everybody, look serious

NPPP 2014 exhibition essay
General content

Dr Sarah Engledow, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2014 Prize.

Life Dancers, 2015 by Elizabeth Looker

NPPP 2016 exhibition essay

General content

Penny Grist, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2016 Prize.

National Portrait Gallery

History

About us

How the National Portrait Gallery and its unique collection came to be

Dr Christopher Chapman

The art of Inner Worlds

Lecture, 7 May 2011
General content

Dr Christopher Chapman NPG Curator of Inner Worlds explains the development of an exhibition that spans from Surrealism to contemporary art.

Beach life (dog), 2006 by Nicholas Harding

Nicholas Harding

Explore The Popular Pet Show

Over the years the young Nicholas Harding got his hands on various mice and guinea pigs, but they served mainly to illustrate the concept of mortality. 

The Bare story

General content

Curator, Penny Grist, reveals how this exhibition came to be

Self portrait

Rick Amor: 21 Portraits

General content

Sarah Engledow chronicles Rick Amor's work and accomplishments in this extensive essay in conjunction with the exhibition Rick Amor: 21 Portraits.

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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