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.

Nothing black and white about the Greys

The 1839 marriage of Sir George Grey and Eliza Lucy Spencer began with a cloud-laden horizon in the distance. George was known for his volatile and idiosyncratic ways, while Eliza was later described by contemporaries as ‘a perfect devil’.

1 Sir George Grey, c. 1845. 2 Mrs Grey, c. 1845. Both Theresa Walker.

The Grey’s tranquil, smooth wax portraits – made by Australia’s first female sculptor, Theresa Walker – belie the turbulent discord of the couple’s 57-year marriage. George was a gifted but high-handed colonial administrator, while Eliza was a spirited, polarising figure. Their fractious union had multiple flashpoints. When the couple’s child died in infancy in Adelaide in 1841, early in George’s stint as Governor of South Australia, he accused Eliza of neglect. En route by ship to another post in South Africa some two decades later, Eliza wrote to a male passenger of her unhappiness. An incensed Sir George had her dumped in Rio de Janeiro, leading to a 37-year separation. The couple were reunited in 1896 in London, but Sir George soon had Eliza removed to relieve him of the ‘excitement of her presence’. They would die and be buried apart, in 1898, estranged in death as they were for much of their marriage.

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

Choose your next love story

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

© 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