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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.

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.

The girls, 2017 by Tamara Dean

Snap decisions

Magazine article by Robert Cook, 2018

NPPP judge Robert Cook provides irreverent insight into this year’s fare, and having to be a bit judgemental.

Anatomist's eye

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2016

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

A bond of friendship

Magazine article by Yvonne Audette AM, 2005

Australia's major abstract painter Yvonne Audette discusses her portrait of sculptor Robert Kippel.

Heart of Darkness

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Magda Keaney talks with Bill Leak about his bold new portrait of Robert Hughes in the National Portrait Gallery collection.

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.

Cook in context

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2007

Robert Oatley's continuing benefaction has helped the National Portrait Gallery acquire works that add another layer to the story of Captain Cook.

The Quiet Australian

Magazine article by Brian Dale, 2001

Robert Oatley talks about the repatriation of the John Webber portrait of Captain James Cook.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Portrait 24

June - August 2007
Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine features Robert Hannaford, Walter Lindrum, John Brack, judicial portraits, Vincent Lingiari and more.

Portrait 5

September - November 2002
Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine features Bill Leak's portrait of Robert Hughes, Polly Borland's photographs, Bill Brandt, Andy Thomas, Tracey Moffatt and more.

Self portrait, 1645

The considered life

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2010

Andrew Sayers asks whether a portrait can truly be the examination of a life.

Portrait 53

Winter 2016
Magazine

Experience the art of rock music; attend to the neglected aspects of Lord Kitchener's work; and say farewell to the inimitable Bob Ellis.

In the National Interest

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

In focussing on the importance of gifts in the building of the collection, prominence must be given to the most spectacular of the National Portrait Gallery's acquisitions; the portrait of Captain James Cook RN by John Webber R.A.

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.

Sir Robert Strong

All you can eat

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2003

In February 2003 the National Portrait Gallery Circle of Friends brought Sir Robert Strong to Australia to present a series of lectures entitled The Artists & The Banquet- A History of Dining, which focused on the links between gardens and table decoration from the Renaissance to the Victorian Era.

Portrait 59

Autumn 2018
Magazine

NPG Washington director Kim Sajet on the Obama portraits, Sarah Ball’s Immigrants, judging the NPPP, Frances Hodgkins, and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Inspiration + Realisation: Peter Wegner

Magazine article by Katherine Russell, 2006

Peter Wegner's approach to portraiture could be considered a visual record of the rapport, the dynamic space between artist and subject.

Undercurrent

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the portraiture of Australian artist Nicholas Harding.

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.

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

A Pioneering Life

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2005

During her time in Australian politics, Dame Nancy Buttfield was an impressive advocate for equality for women and was responsible for ending the marriage bar for women in the Public Service.

Portrait of a patron

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

A new painting by Jiawei Shen captures the vision and resolve of the Gallery's founder, L. Gordon Darling AC CMG.

Peter Wilmoth, age 12, with copies of Our World 1974 Courtesy of the author

Paper, boy

Magazine article by Peter Wilmoth, 2016

Peter Wilmoth’s boy-journalist toolkit for antagonising an Australian political giant.

Miss Alesandra, 2010

The more things change

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

National Photographic Portrait Prize curator, Sarah Engledow, finds reward in a difficult task and ultimately uncovers the essence of portraiture.

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.

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.

Little treasures

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2002

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

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.

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.

The Story So Far...

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

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

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.

How to be a boy

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Christopher Chapman profiles Chris Lilley, actor and creator of Angry Boys.

Barack Obama, 2018 by Kehinde Wiley

The Obama effect

Magazine article by Kim Sajet, 2018

Kim Sajet reflects on two portraits with a power that extends beyond gallery walls.

With a Little Help from my Friends

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

The story behind the acquisition of the portrait of Danish architect Jørn Utzon.

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

"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.

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.

Jean-Paul Sartre, 1946

Insightful

Magazine article by Robert McFarlane, 2004

Henri-Cartier-Bresson invented the grammar for photographing life in the 20th century.

High & Bligh

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

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

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.

South-bound and down

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour recounts the story of ill-fated sea voyages in the early stages of the Antipodean colony.

Karen Gillan, 2010

Hot Scots

Magazine article by Christopher Baker, 2013

James Holloway describes the first portraits you encounter when entering the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

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.

Karl Robert, Count Nesselrode, 1818 by Sir Thomas Lawrence

The Lawrence lustre

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2019

Angus Trumble salutes the glorious portraiture of Sir Thomas Lawrence.

Commander Skyring, Gang-gang cockatoo by Leila Jeffreys

A real tweet

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2016

Sarah Engledow plays wingman to Leila Jeffreys.

Hottie's Snifter to port

Magazine article by Peter Jeffrey, 2016

Peter Jeffrey trips the hound nostalgic.

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

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

Benny (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark

City boys

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman immerses himself in Larry Clark’s field of vision.

David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding

Through thick and thin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow likes the manifold mediums of Nicholas Harding’s portraiture.

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.

The Dissecting Room

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

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

Camouflage self portrait, 1986

Hide/Seek

Magazine article by David Ward, 2010

David Ward writes about the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture on display at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington.

Self-portrait in black jumper, 2017 Graeme Drendel

Be frank

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2020

Close encounters are the genesis for Graeme Drendel’s enticing portraiture.

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.

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.

Showing character

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

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

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.

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.

Where the wild things are

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the complex portrait of Dr Bob Brown by Harold 'The Kangaroo' Thornton.

Unbuttoning uniforms

Magazine article by Sharon Peoples, 2017

Sharon Peoples contemplates costumes and the construction of identity.

Me Myself I

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2001

Andrew Sayers explores the self-portraits created by Australian artist Sidney Nolan.

Corporate Characters

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2005

A collection of thirty-seven caricatures by the artist Joe Greenberg capture the heroes and villians of Australian business in the 1980s.

Miss Robertson of Colac (Dolly), 1885-86

Brothers on farms

Magazine article by Malcolm Robertson, 2011

Malcolm Robertson tells the family history of one of Australia's earliest patrons of the arts, his Scottish born great great great grandfather, William Robertson.

Bloodlines

Magazine article by Michelle Fracaro, 2004

Michelle Fracaro describes Lionel Lindsay's woodcut The Jester (self-portrait).

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.

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

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

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.

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.

Hyperversity

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the larger-than-life Australian performance artist, Leigh Bowery.

Sam and the Perfect World, 2005

The news from Washington

Magazine article by Lauretta Morton, 2006

Australia's former Cultural Attache to the USA, Ron Ramsey, describes the mood at the opening week of the revitalised American National Portrait Gallery.

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.

Melbourne experience

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2007

Diana Warnes explores the lives of Hal and Katherine 'Kate' Hattam through their portraits painted by Fred Williams and Clifton Pugh.

The hunting lodge, 2007

Seduce Amuse Entertain

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond profiles a handful of the entrants in first National Photographic Portrait Prize and notes emerging themes and categories.

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.

Quong Tart, 1880s

Finest quality

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of Chinese-Australian businessman and philanthropist Quong Tart.

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.

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.

Generous Janice

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

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

The shipwright's arms

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and times of convict-turned-artist William Buelow Gould.

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.

Ms Anna Burke MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives 2015 by Jude Rae

Hired guns, bounty hunters and horse whisperers

Magazine article by Jude Rae, 2016

Jude Rae contemplates the portrait commission.

The bright-eyed Mariner

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008
A new colonial portrait brings a zealous captain near.
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.

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.

Diamond Doll

Magazine article by Karen Vickery, 2016

Karen Vickery delights in a thespian thread of the Australian yarn.

Rethinking foundational histories

Magazine article by Kate Fullagar, 2019

A focus on Indigenous-European relationships underpins Facing New Worlds. By Kate Fullagar.

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.

Chevalier d’Eon, 1792

All dressed up

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2013

Jane Raffan asks do clothes make the portrait, and can the same work with a new title fetch a better price?

Fugue in Yellow

Magazine article by Roger Benjamin, 2015

Roger Benjamin explores the intriguing union of Lina Bryans and Alex Jelinek.

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.

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.

Australia’s great internationalists

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

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

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.

‘Untitled’ - Yellow Kangaroo Paw, 2008 by Christian Thompson

The 'I' in Indigenous art

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2013

Jane Raffan examines unique styles of Indigenous portraiture that challenge traditional Western concepts of the artform.

The numbers man

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Dr. Sarah Engledow tells the story of Australia's first Federal statistician, Sir George Knibbs.

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.

Earth to earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

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

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.

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).

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency