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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.

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. 

Olga Radalyski prison records, on loan from the Public Record Office of Victoria.

The sensational denouement of the case

The Yarra Boot Trunk Tragedy, 12 January 1899
About Face article

The 'Yarra Boot Trunk Tragedy' unfolded a week before Christmas 1898, when some neighbourhood boys noticed a wooden box floating in the river at Richmond. 

Helena Rubinstein in a red brocade Balenciaga gown

Crème Valaze

From lanolin to Balenciaga
About Face article

Helena Rubinstein (1872‒1965) was the first self-made millionairess of modern times, and created the first publicly-listed global cosmetics corporation. 

Mirka - 9 Collins Street

Wicked but Virtuous

About Face article

Faith Stellmaker shares pioneering artist and restaurateur Mirka Mora’s lasting legacy on Melbourne’s art, dining and culture.

Little John of Colchester, a poor lunatic, c.1823 by John Dempsey

Dempsey's people

About Face article

Those of you who are active in social media circles may be aware that through the past week I have unleashed a blitz on Facebook and Instagram in connection with our new winter exhibition Dempsey’s People: A Folio of British Street Portraits, 1824−1844.

Louise, daughter of the Hon. L. L. Smith by Tom Roberts, 1888

An Australian in Paris

About Face article

This week it is impossible not to contemplate the ways in which France has touched many Australian lives.

Cooey: an Australian song

Cooey! An Australian Song

About Face article

"Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey—Love has caught the strain, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey—it whispers back again." The “Australian lady” who composed these fruity lyrics was none other than Desda— Jane Davies, sometime Messiter (née Price) of Leddicott, Lavender Bay.

Brooke Lockett, Heidi Martin, Karen Nanasca, Halaina Hills; New York, 2012 Lisa Tomasetti

Dance like everyone’s watching

About Face article

Penelope Grist’s spirits soar with Lisa Tomasetti’s Dancers in the Streets series.

The great South Sea caterpillar transformed into a Bath Butterfly (Sir Joseph Banks)

The Bath Butterfly

About Face article

The caricaturist and engraver James Gillray's biting satires about Sir Joseph Banks. 

Trumble's way

About Face article

At the end of a summer break one is tempted to say that there is nothing much to report. Isn’t one restful holiday very much like another?

Canberra Close Up: Angus Trumble

Desert Island Discs

About Face article

I agonized over the choice of four songs to take with me to the ABC Studios for Alex Sloan’s Canberra 666 afternoon program, a sort of iteration of the old BBC Desert Island Discs.

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.

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.

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, 1824 by James Thomson

Audacity, audacity, audacity

About Face article

Angus delves into the biographies of two ambitious characters; Sir Stamford Raffles and Sir John Pope-Hennessy.

The National Portrait Gallery's 20th birthday party

The National Portrait Gallery's 20th Anniversary

About Face article

Last month we marked the twentieth anniversary of the formal establishment of the National Portrait Gallery, the tenth of the opening of our signature building, and the fifth of our having become a statutory authority under Commonwealth legislation.

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.

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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