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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.

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.

Professor Peter Doherty

The Changing Face of the Scientist

Magazine article by Elizabeth Finlay, 2003

Scientists tend to conjure up images of men in white coats in labs but this is just one stereotype in an evolving history of how we have perceived scientists, and how their profession has been understood over the years.

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012

Imagination

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow tells the story of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee portrait by Australian artist Ralph Heimans.

Lewis Morley

Myself and Eye

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Magda Keaney speaks with Lewis Morley about his photographic career and the major retrospective of his work on display at the NPG.

Mr Mortimer Lewis

Little treasures

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2002

The acquisition of the ivory miniatures of Mortimer and Mrs Lewis.

Bee Miles

Good, bad and the ugly

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond explores what makes a portrait subject significant.

Dame Mary Gilmore

Painting writing

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the portraits of writers held in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

Portrait 7

March - May 2003
Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine features Grace Cossington Smith, the Fairfax portrait gift and Lewis Morley's photographs.

Ron Grainer

Dr Who?

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

It is not well known that the person who composed the famous theme music for the BBC's Doctor Who series was Australian Ron Grainer.

Chance meeting, 1940-41 by Martin Lewis

Nocturnal animals

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2017

Joanna Gilmour explores the enticing urban shadows cast by artists Martin Lewis and Edward Hopper.

Clive James

Golden Jubilee

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Polly Borland's photograph of The Queen was commissioned by Buckingham Palace as part of a series of high profile celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee.

Portrait of Elizabeth Gould with a raptor, possibly a red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus), painted in her lifetime Artist unknown

Birds of a feather

Magazine article by Annette Twyman, 2021

Charting a path from cockatiel to finch, Annette Twyman explores her family portraits and stories.

Blue Mountain, Owner, Trainer, Jockey, James Scobie

Sure thing

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Blue Mountain, Owner, Trainer, Jockey, James Scobie 1887 by Frederick Woodhouse Snr. is a portrait of James Scobie, well known jockey and eminent horse trainer.

Portrait of Florence Broadhurst

Be bold

Magazine article by Katherine Russell, 2007

The name of Florence Broadhurst, one of Australia’s most significant wallpaper and textile designers, is now firmly cemented in the canon of Australian art and design.

Rev. Victor B. Walls and Mrs. Walls, Trinidad, B.W.I., c.1930

The first nurse

Magazine article by Tamsin Hong, 2016

Tamsin Hong recounts the tale of Marion Smith, the only known Australian Indigenous servicewoman of World War One.

Portait 65

Portrait 65

Autumn/Winter 2021
Magazine

Hugh Ramsay, the fashion of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, Peter Wegner's centenarian series, John and Elizabeth Gould's family connections, Karen Quinlan's top five portraits and more.

Study for commissioned portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (profile head study)

Australian Princess

Magazine article by Katherine Russell, 2005

The full-length portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark by artist Jiawei Shen, has become a destination piece for visitors.

Ellen Stirling

Duty bound

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of colonial women Lady Ellen Stirling, Eliza Darling, Lady Eliza Arthur, Elizabeth Macquarie and Lady Jane Franklin.

Ma Khin Mar Mar Kyi

My Favourite Australian

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2009

The Australian public was invited in 2008 to vote for their favourite Australian.  After the votes were tallied an exhibition of the top-ten Popular Australians and the top-twenty unsung heroes was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.

Sir Henry Unton

Icons and imagery

Magazine article by Alison Weir, 2011

Alison Weir explores the National Portrait Gallery, London and the BP Portrait Award to find what makes a good painted portrait - past and present.

David Williamson

The Story So Far...

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

A reflection on the National Portrait Gallery's first four years.

Mirror Mirror: Graeme Murphy

Reflections on a Hologram

Magazine article by Sam Bowker, 2005

Sam Bowker examines Paula Dawson's Mirror, Mirror - a holographic portrait of Graeme Murphy.

Michael Kimmelman

Magazine article by Pamela Gray, 2002

Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times and author of Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere, presented the National Portrait Gallery Third Anniversary Lecture on 2 March 2002. He was generously brought to Australia by the Gordon Darling Foundation and Qantas.

Murray frees himself from straightjacket in public, 1928 by Sam Hood

Risky business

Magazine article by John Zubrzycki, 2016

John Zubrzycki lauds the characters of the Australian escapology trade.

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.

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.

Robert, Lindy, Grant

Face the music

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2005

Drawn from the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Face the Music explores the remarkable talents and achievements of Australian musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities associated with the music industry.

Kevin Rudd

An Australian story

Magazine article by Hon. Kevin Rudd, 2009

In his speech launching the new National Portrait Gallery building on 3 December 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd set the Gallery in a national and historical context.

A Sydney family, 1840s

The house, the horse, the wife and the offspring

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour writes about the portraiture of the colonial artist William Nicholas.

Portrait of Mary MacKillop c 1873

The Saint and the merchant

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Emanuel Solomon gave shelter to the Sisters of St Joseph upon the excommunication of St Mary MacKillop.

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.

Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground

Seduce and Destroy

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2001

Magda Keaney explores the symbolism in eX de Medici's portrait of Midnight Oil.

Captain W Kinghorne

The bright-eyed Mariner

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008
A new colonial portrait brings a zealous captain near.
Greek Orthodox Priest, 2015 by Sarah Ball

Hope for kindness

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow arrives at the junction of fate and hope in Sarah Ball’s poignant Immigrants series.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Portrait of Brian Dunlop

A quiet moment

Magazine article by Helene Ladomirska, 2006

As Bryan Westwood’s portrait of Brian Dunlop hangs adjacent to Brian Dunlop’s portrait of the philanthropist Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, we see the artist of one work as the subject of the other. 

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.

Steve Irwin

Crikey!

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Robin Sellick captured a rare moment of quietude from the late conservation star Steve Irwin.

Caroline Amelia Elizabeth
of Brunswick, 1804

Around the grounds

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2010

Anne Sanders writes about the exhibitions Victoria & Albert: Art & Love on display at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the retrospective of Sir Thomas Lawrence at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Barry Humphries

No Laughing Matter

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

The biographical exhibition of Barry Humphries was the first display of its kind at the National Portrait Gallery.

Elizabeth (Murray) 2000

Extremely generous and incredibly close

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond examines the daguerreotype portraits created by American artist Chuck Close.

Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE

Spikes: then and now

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

As part of its ongoing program of commissions of portraits of prominent Australians, the National Portrait Gallery has unveiled a portrait of Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson by South Australian artist Avril Thomas.

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.

Pat Mackie

Blue Collar Icon

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr Sarah Engledow delves into the life of union leader Pat Mackie who is depicted in a portrait by Nancy Borlase AM.

Self portrait

Profile of a marriage

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the lives of Sir George Grey and his wife Eliza, the subjects of a pair of wax medallions in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

Tim Winton

Tracks in the sand

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Dr Sarah Engledow discusses Quentin Jones's photograph of Australian author Tim Winton.

Jessie Street

Australia’s great internationalists

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist explores the United Nations stories in the Gallery’s collection.

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.

Dr Peter Farrell

Giving and getting

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

The exhibition Portraits for Posterity celebrates gifts to the Gallery, of purchases made with donated funds, and testifies to the generosity and community spirit of Australians.

Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)

Big shots

Magazine article by Djon Mundine OAM, 2017

Djon Mundine OAM brings poignant memory and context to Martin van der Wal’s 1986 portrait photographs of storied Aboriginal artists.

Sandor Ferenczis 50th birthday dinner, Budapest, 1923

Less than six degrees of separation

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2011

Anne Sanders finds connections in Inner Worlds between Hungarian expatriates and the development of psychoanalysis in Australia.

Margaret Whitlam

Glossy too

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2005

The Glossy 2 exhibition highlights the integral role magazine photography plays in illustrating and shaping our contemporary culture.

Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York, May 9, 1901, 1903 by Tom Roberts

Empire records

Magazine article by Kylie Scroope, 2011

Celebrates the centenary of the first national art collection, the Historic Memorials Collection, housed at Australia's Parliament House.

JK Rowling, 2005

Why do painted portraits still matter?

Magazine article by Sandy Nairne, 2006

Lecture by Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, given at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra on 28 April 2006.

The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David

The intellectual larrikin

Magazine article by Barrie Cassidy, 2019

Barrie Cassidy pays textured tribute to the inimitable Bob Hawke.

Cathy Freeman, 1994

Depth of Field

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2004

The exhibition Depth of Field displays a selection of portrait photographs that reflect the strength and diversity of Australian achievement.

Self portrait

Give me five

Magazine article by Karen Quinlan AM, 2021

National Portrait Gallery director Karen Quinlan AM nominates her quintet of favourites from the collection, with early twentieth-century ‘selfies’ filling the roster.

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.

Dr Edward MacMahon, 1959 by William Dobell

Bill and Ted's excellent portrait.

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2016

Sarah Engledow on Messrs Dobell and MacMahon and the art of friendship.

William Shakespeare, c. 1600-1610  associated with John Taylor

Take thy face hence

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2022

Joanna Gilmour travels through time to explore the National Portrait Gallery London’s masterpieces in Shakespeare to Winehouse.

Cormac + Callum Kenne, My Children, Sydney, Australia, 2009

Citizen Kenne

Magazine article by April Thompson, 2013

April Thompson explores an exhibition of Ingvar Kenne’s global portrait project.

Viscount Robert Lowe (Image plate from Vanity Fair Magazine)

Meeting by Murder

Magazine article by Yvonne Audette AM, 2005

The story behind two colonial portraits; a lithograph of captain and convict John Knatchbull and newspaper illustration of Robert Lowe, Viscount Sherbrooke.

ORA - Homesickness Project 2015 by Chrys Zantis

Food for thought

Magazine article by Michael Wardell, 2016

Michael Wardell on Chrys Zantis’ Ora.

Lola Montes

You beauty

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the fact and fictions surrounding the legendary life of Irish-born dancer Lola Montez.

Andrew Sachs (‘Manuel’)

Star signs

Magazine article by Barry York, 2018

Barry York charts the course from childhood request to autographed celebrity portrait anthology.

Lowitja O'Donoghue

Anatomist's eye

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2016

Robert Hannaford has completed around 400 portraits over the span of his career. 

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.

Marcia Langton

The story of us

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2022

Gallery directors Karen Quinlan and Tony Ellwood talk to Penelope Grist about the NPG and NGV collaborative exhibition, Who Are You: Australian Portraiture.

Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987

Aussies all

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2006

The exhibition Aussies all features the ecclectic portrait photography of Rennie Ellis which captures Australian life during the 70s and 80s.

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.

Jenny Kee, 2015 Carla Fletcher

Twin chics

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2021

Joanna Gilmour on the exuberant union of fashion pioneers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, captured in luminescent splendour by artist Carla Fletcher.

The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KGAK GCMG GCVO KBE QC, 2006 by Rick Amor

Prima facie

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow casts a judicious eye over portraits in the Victorian Bar’s Peter O’Callaghan QC Portrait Gallery.

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’. 

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.

Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980

Listomania

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Sarah Engledow describes the fall-out once Brett Whiteley stuck Patrick White’s list of his loves and hates onto his great portrait of the writer.

Vanity fair

Magazine article by Ashleigh Wadman, 2012

Ashleigh Wadman rediscovers the Australian characters represented with a kindly touch by the British portrait artist Leslie Ward for the society magazine Vanity Fair.

Lucy, 2001

Technical terminology

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond introduces some of the ideas behind the exhibition Present Tense: An imagined grammar of portraiture in the digital age.

Helena Rubinstein in a red brocade Balenciaga gown

Study in scarlet

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2018

Angus Trumble reflects on the force of nature that was Helena Rubinstein.

Janice Wakely

Generous Janice

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow puts four gifts to the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection in context.

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.

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.

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.

Tony Bilson

Eating the seasons

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2019

Anne Sanders imbibes Tony Bilson’s gastronomic revolution.

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.

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.

Adrian Rawlins

Earth to earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow discusses the recent gift of works by David Campbell.

Sidney Nolan, Western Australia

Cultural kaleidoscope

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The complex connections between four creative Australians; Patrick White, Sidney Nolan, Robert Helpmann and Peter Sculthorpe.

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.

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.

Mary (or Diana) Croker, mat woman, Colchester, 1823 by John Dempsey

Unknown drawer

Magazine article by Dr David Hansen, 2017

Dempsey’s People curator David Hansen chronicles a research tale replete with serendipity, adventure and Tasmanian tigers.

Portfolio of 54 portraits compiled by Queen Victoria, 1859–1861 by John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Camille Silvy, Frances Day and William Bambridge

Queen of cartes

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour discusses the role of the carte de visite in portraiture’s democratisation, and its harnessing by Victoria, the world’s first media monarch.

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.

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.

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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.

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