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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.

Percy, Reginald, Monty and George Faithfull, undated by Henry Dorner. Image courtesy the National Museum of Australia.

An affray which deserves particular mention

Ben Hall and his gang outdone, 6 February 1865
About Face article

Bushranger Ben Hall and his cronies held around 40 people hostage in a pub north-west of Goulburn, telling their captives ‘don’t be alarmed; we only came here for a bit of fun’.

Koko & Kiko (42nd Street Series), 1980 by Larry Clark

Best buds

About Face article

It’s important to have a best bud when you’re growing up. For many boys the transition from boyhood through adolescence is defined by wanting to fit in. 

Olegas Truchanas

Giving a dam

True south #1
About Face article

Ensconced and meditative in crisp Tasmania, Joanna Gilmour pays tribute to passionate green advocate and photographer Olegas Truchanas.

The selfie stick

About Face article

Last week ABC Television came to interview me about selfie sticks. The story was prompted by the announcement that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has lately prohibited the use of these inside their galleries. So far as I am aware we have not yet encountered the phenomenon, but no doubt we will before too long.

James Mccabe Executed Jany. 6th 1826

The consolations of religion

A bushranger meets his maker, 6 January 1826
About Face article

James McCabe provides proof that hanging wasn’t necessarily a fate reserved for the perpetrators of murder and other deeds of darkest hue. 

Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Signed and dated 1843 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Queen Victoria

About Face article

Last Sunday I had the privilege of appearing at the Canberra Writers’ Festival in conversation with Julia Baird. The subject of our session was Julia’s recent biography, Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman who Ruled an Empire.

'Moses' by Michelangelo, c. 1513–1515

Not perspiring, but glowing.

The cultural history of radiance.
About Face article

Angus Trumble explores the creative manifestations of radiance.

Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Tribute: Mary Isabel Murphy

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The Chairman, Board, Director and all the staff of the National Portrait Gallery mourn the loss of our Benefactor, Mary Isabel Murphy.

Trumble and Borthwick families (Mum front right, Angus smallest), ca. 1968

Humdinger

About Face article

At a meeting by teleconference of the National Portrait Gallery Foundation last week, I found myself reporting that our forthcoming exhibition So Fine is going to be “a humdinger,” whereupon Tim Fairfax chuckled and said that he hadn’t heard that expression for years.

General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane

Seeing stars

Celebrating Science Week
About Face article

It has been suggested that Sir Thomas Brisbane’s interest in the New South Wales governorship was as attributable to his passion for astronomy as to the desirability of the position as a prestigious career move.

Sydney Cove medallion, 1789 by Josiah Wedgwood

The medallion

About Face article

In recent years I have become fascinated by the so-called Sydney Cove Medallion (1789), a work of art that bridges the 10,000-mile gap between the newly established penal settlement at Port Jackson and the beating heart of Enlightenment England.

Sunset in the drawing room at Chesney Wold by Hablot Knight Brown

Portraiture in a Bleak House

About Face article

It may seem an odd thing to do at one’s leisure on a beautiful tropical island, but I spent much of my midwinter break a few weeks ago re-reading Bleak House.

Cover, first minute book of the Tasmanian Society of Natural History

Embrace your inner nerd

About Face article

The southern winter has arrived. For people in the northern hemisphere (the majority of humanity) the idea of snow and ice, freezing mist and fog in June, potentially continuing through to August and beyond, encapsulates the topsy-turvidom of our southern continent.

The eye and the heart

About Face article

Nici Cumpston immerses herself in the collective vision of the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020.

Mural of Italian/Roman actress Anna Magnani (1908­–1973) with face mask, April 2020 Unknown artist

Of plague and portraits

About Face article

Corinna Cullen on the symbolic power of pandemic-related imagery over the ages.

The stately lotus

About Face article

I spent much of my summer holiday at D’Omah, on the outskirts of Yogyakarta. Lotus and waterlilies sprout in extraordinary profusion in artful ponds amid palms and deep scarlet ginger flowers.

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Fax +61 2 6102 7001
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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