Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Final Frontier

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

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

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 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.

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.

Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans

Dane reign

Magazine article by Mette Skougaard and Thomas Lyngby, 2018

Mette Skougaard and Thomas Lyngby bring eloquent context to Ralph Heimans’ portraits of Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Tiny Trace of a Colonial Giant

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

At just 7.8 x 6.2 cm, the daguerreotype of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa is one of the smallest works in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

Bonfire of the vanities

Magazine article by Stuart Purves, 2016

Australian Galleries Director Stuart Purves tells the story of two portraits by John Brack.

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 61

Summer 2018/19
Magazine

Max Dupain's unknown portrait subjects, phrenologist Madame Sibly, Indigenous-European relationships, Thomas Gainsborough 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.

Portrait 35

March - May 2010
Magazine

This issue features suspected poisoner and portrait artist Thomas Wainewright, Rick Amor, Chuck Close, Mick Dodson, Scott Redford, the National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition and more.

Portrait 60

Spring 2018
Magazine

Ralph Heimans on his portraits, and features on Louis Kahan, Helena Rubinstein, Judy Cassab and Tasmanian convicts.

Video still from Dream Job, 2011 by David M Thomas

My dream job

Magazine article by David Thomas, 2012

Artist David M Thomas lists some of the ideas and influences behind his video portraits.

Dr G Yunupingu

Magazine article, 2017

Dr G Yunupingu (1970-2017), a man of the Gumatj clan of north-east Arnhem Land, learned to play guitar, keyboard, drums and didgeridoo as a child.

Thomas Mathewson (inset) and his studio on Queen Street, c. 1908 by Thomas Mathewson & Co

Northern exposure

Magazine article by Phil Manning, 2017

Phil Manning celebrates a century of Brisbane photographic portraiture.

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.

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.

Thomas Gainsborough, c.1758-59 by Thomas Gainsborough

Keep it in the family

Magazine article by David Solkin, 2019

David Solkin ponders the provocations and inspirations of the enigmatic Thomas Gainsborough.

Portrait of an English Woman c. 1532-5 (detail)

A new perspective

Magazine article by Celina Fox, 2006

An exhibition devoted to Hans Holbein's English commissions shows the portraitist bringing across the Channel new technical developments in art - with a dazzling facility.

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.

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.

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.

Little treasures

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2002

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

Ursus sitting, 1931

Two pair

Magazine article by Dr Jacqui Strecker, 2008
Stuttgart's Art Museum is showing Otto Dix portraits alongside artists from Lucas Cranach to Andy Warhol.
123 Faces, 2002

123 Faces

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Magda Keaney examines the 123 Faces project by Simon Obarzanek.

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.

Picture this...

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

This edited version of a speech by Andrew Sayers examines some of the antecedents of the National Portrait Gallery and set out the ideas behind the modern Gallery and its collection.

Portrait of a Modernist

Magazine article by Dimity Goldie, 2003

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

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.

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.

In a good paddock

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Celebrating a new painted portrait of Joseph Banks, Sarah Engledow spins a yarn of the naturalist, the first kangaroo in France and Don, a Spanish ram.

Reflections on portraiture

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2004

An extract from the 2004 Nuala O'Flaaherty Memorial Lecture at the Queen Victoria Musuem and Art Gallery in Launceston in which Andrew Sayers reflects on the unique qualities of a portrait gallery.

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.

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.

Good, bad and the ugly

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond explores what makes a portrait subject significant.

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.

Martin Schoeller 2008

The God-shaped hole

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Exploring the photographs of Martin Schoeller, Michael Desmond delves into the uneasy pact that exists between celebrity and the camera.

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?

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.

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.

Showing character

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

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

The Conciliation, 1840 by Benjamin Duterrau

The art of conciliation

Magazine article by Gareth Knapman, 2017

Gareth Knapman explores the politics and opportunism behind the portraits of Tasmania’s Black War.

High school, 2008

Subtle emotion

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

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

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

Support Crew

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Portraits of philanthropists in the collection honour their contributions to Australia and acknowledge their support of the National Portrait Gallery.

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.

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.

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.

The Philosophy of Teapots and Ducks

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2005

Cartoonist Michael Leunig's insights into the human condition and current affairs have become famous Australia-wide.

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.

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.

Top shot that

Magazine article by Gideon Haigh, 2009

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The bright-eyed Mariner

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

The Wentworths – Hidden in Plain Sight

Magazine article by Grace Carroll, 2015

Grace Carroll on the gendered world of the Wentworths.

Fugue in Yellow

Magazine article by Roger Benjamin, 2015

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

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.

Australia’s great internationalists

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

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

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.

Unbuttoning uniforms

Magazine article by Sharon Peoples, 2017

Sharon Peoples contemplates costumes and the construction of identity.

Costantini's convictions

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2017

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

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.

First-Class Marksman, 1946 by Sidney Nolan

Money for Myth

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2015

Australian character on the market by Jane Raffan.

The Dissecting Room

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

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

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. 

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.

Getting bare

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

How seven portraits within Bare reveal in a public portrait parts of the body and elements of life usually located in the private sphere.

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.

Omai, Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, 1775-76

First encounters

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2011

Representations of the inhabitants of the new world expose the complexities of the colonisers' intentions.

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.

Regarding Henrys

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

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

The shipwright's arms

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

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

© 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