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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.

Self portrait

Portrait of a Modernist

Magazine article by Dimity Goldie, 2003

The National Portrait Gallery acquired the self-portrait by Grace Cossington Smith in 2003.

Self portrait

Modern Australian Women

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2005

Close contemporaries, Thea Proctor, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith were frequently sources of inspiration and irritation to each other. 

Christian Waller with Baldur, Undine and Siren at Fairy Hills, 1932 by Napier Waller

Enigma

Magazine article by Grace Carroll, 2015

Grace Carroll contemplates the curious case of Christian Waller.

George Barrington, c.1785

Celebrity cutpurse

Magazine article by Grace Carroll, 2010

Grace Carroll discusses the portrait of the late-eighteenth century gentleman pickpocket George Barrington.

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.

Peter Sculthorpe

Creative space

Magazine article by Eric Smith, 2004

Eric Smith describes the agony and finally the ecstasy of winning the 1982 Archibald Prize with the portrait of Peter Sculthorpe.

Francis Russell Nixon

Sketches and sermons

Magazine article by Jessica Smith, 2009

Jessica Smith looks at the 'fetching' portrait of Tasmania's first Anglican Bishop, Francis Russell Nixon by George Richmond

Portrait of Henry Vernon Crock AO

Private practice

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008
David Smith portrayed Dr Henry Crock without the accoutrements of an orthopaedic surgeon, adding to the National Portrait Gallery's collection of eminent Australian medical practitioners.
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.

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.

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.

Portrait 7

March - May 2003
Magazine

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

Portrait of Susan Wakil AO

About grace

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2020

Penelope Grist finds philanthropy and fashion underpin the story of Susan Wakil AO.

Self portrait with gladioli

Facing Facts

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

Former NPG Director, Andrew Sayers describes the 1922 Self-portrait with Gladioli by George Lambert.

Self portrait

In good company

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Jean Appleton’s 1965 self portrait makes a fine addition to the National Portrait Gallery’s collection writes Joanna Gilmour.

Self portrait

A Singular Line

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2003

A newly acquired work by Stella Bowen adds to the National Portrait Gallery's growing collection of important Australian self-portraits.

Miss Evelyn Chapman, 1918

Lovers of light

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Dr Sarah Engledow traces the significant links between Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo and Evelyn Chapman through their portraits.

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.

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.

The rose, 1927

The world of Thea Proctor

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The world of Thea Proctor was the National Portrait Gallery's second exhibition to follow the life of a single person, following Rarely Everage: The lives of Barry Humphries.

My father-in-law watering his garden, 1986 by Davida Allen

Lovingly observed

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sarah Engledow previews the beguiling summer exhibition, Idle hours.

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.

Caroline Pileggi

Ready , set... shoot

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2006

The exhibition Flash: Australian Athletes in Focus offers various interpretations of sporting men and women by five Australian photographers.

Self portrait with gladioli

Courage, Self-analysis and Skill

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2002

The story behind George Lambert's Self-portrait with Gladioli.

Naomi Watts

In Sync

Magazine article by Peter Brew-Bevan, 2004

Peter Brew-Bevan discusses two experiences where his plans for his portraits produced surprising results.

Style Over Substance 2020 (still), 2020 The Huxleys

Observation point

Magazine article by The Huxleys, 2022

Growing up feeling isolated, ostracised and ornate in the heated homogeny of the suburbs of Perth and the Gold Coast we often longed and dreamed for an escape.

Ethel Turner

Moving in creative circles

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Harold Cazneaux's portraits of influential Sydneysiders included Margaret Preston and Ethel Turner, both important figures in the development of ideas about Australian identity and culture.

James Ford, 1979 by Robert Mapplethorpe

Apollo's breath

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman delights in the intimacy of Robert Mapplethorpe's photography

Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

Gael Newton delves into the life and art of renowned Australian photographer, Max Dupain.

Victor Trumper

Top shot that

Magazine article by Gideon Haigh, 2009

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Self-portrait, 1973 by Noel Counihan

Of jumpers and river gums, red

Magazine article by Diana O'Neil, 2016

Diana O’Neil on Noel Counihan’s vivid 1971 portrait of Alan Marshall.

Dr Joseph Brown with Two Typists

Unboxed

Magazine article by Sandra Bruce, 2022

Sandra Bruce explores a new acquisition that has within it a story of interconnectivities in the Australian art world.

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.

Mark Richards

Off the wall

Magazine article by John Witzig, 2008
Photographer and surf mag editor John Witzig tells the stories behind his iconic surf images.
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.

"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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Andy Thomas

The Final Frontier

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Magda Keaney talks with Montalbetti+Campbell about their photographic portrait of Australian astronaut Andy Thomas.

Sir Frank Packer KBE

Vintage Cassab

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The oil portrait of Sir Frank Packer KBE by Judy Cassab was gifted to the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

High school, 2008

Subtle emotion

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

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

Hardtmuth 'Hottie' Lahm

Hottie's Snifter to port

Magazine article by Peter Jeffrey, 2016

Peter Jeffrey trips the hound nostalgic.

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.

Radical Restraint 
Justice Michael Kirby

Judicial portraits

Magazine article by Leslie Moran, 2007

Leslie Moran investigates the portraits of judges in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

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.

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.

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.

Satoshi Tokuhiro at Horai Gorge, Takaruzuka, Hyogo from Young Samurai – Bodybuilders of Japan Photography by Tamotsu Yato

Way of the body

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2019

Christopher Chapman reveals the intersection of iconoclastic Japanese figures Yukio Mishima and Tamotsu Yato.

A Goldfields Member

Showing character

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

Joanna Gilmour on Tom Durkin playing with Melbourne's manhood.

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.

Quentin Bryce

In bloom

Magazine article by Susi Muddiman, 2017

Susi Muddiman delights in Michael Zavros’ stunning portrait of the honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO.

Self portrait

Small worlds

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Bess Norriss Tait created miniature watercolour portraits full of character and life.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rehearsing Godot (Mullins as Lucky) 4.11.2013 by Nicholas Harding

Waiting for Godot

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

'Artist and actors, advancing spasmodically, find their rhythm together' writes Sarah Engledow.

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.

Marian Anderson, contralto, New York, June 30, 1955 Richard Avedon

The right note

Magazine article by Leslie Ureña, 2020

Marian Anderson’s glorious voice thrust her into stardom, and a more reluctant role as American civil rights pioneer.

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. 

Automatic for the people: Casey Stoner

Speed demon

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Scott Redford discusses his dynamic portrait commission of motorcycling champion and 2008 Young Australian of the Year Casey Stoner.

Self portrait, 1786 by John Kay

Alternative virtue

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Joanna Gilmour presents John Kay’s portraits of a more infamous side of Edinburgh.

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.

Self portrait with Spots and Veins

Mental as everything

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2006

Chris O'Doherty, also known as Reg Mombassa, is best-known for his Mambo imagery but he also paints a lot of self portraits.

Self portrait with gladioli

Money and swat

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2007

Andrew Sayers discusses the real cost of George Lambert's Self portrait with gladioli 1922.

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.

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.

Mary Ann Lawrence, 1841

Fits of delicacy and despair

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Henry Mundy's portraits flesh out notions of propriety and good taste in a convict colony.

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.

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.

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.

One hundred days at 7pm 2015 by Fiona McMonagle

Self-effacing

Magazine article by Michael Wardell, 2016

Michael Wardell samples the fare in the University of Queensland National Self-portrait Prize.

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.

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.

Self-Portrait, 1981 by Don Bachardy

Drawing inspiration

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2017

Christopher Chapman absorbs the gentle touch of Don Bachardy’s portraiture.

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.

Nannultera, a young cricketer of the Natives' Training Institution, Poonindie , 1854 John Michael Crossland

The catechist and the cricketer

Magazine article by Stephen Valambras Graham, 2021

Stephen Valambras Graham traverses the intriguing socio-political terrain behind two iconic First Nations portraits of the 1850s.

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.

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.

Mick Jagger, Madonna and Tony Curtis, 1997

The Vanity model

Magazine article by David Friend, 2009

Vanity Fair Editor David Friend describes how the rebirth of the magazine sated our desire for access into the lives of celebrities and set the standard for the new era of portrait photography.

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.

Portrait of Thea Proctor, 1905 by George Lambert

The real Thea

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

Long after the portraitist became indifferent to her, and died, a beguiling portrait hung over its subject.

Self portrait, 1954

A sketch for some portraits

Magazine article by Judith Pugh, 2005

Judith Pugh reflects on Clifton Pugh's approach to portrait making.

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.

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.

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.

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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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

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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