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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.

Portrait of Captain John Hunter

Goods and chattels

About Face article

I have been reading systematically through the ads in the earliest issues of the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, such a rich vein of information about certain aspects of daily life in Regency Sydney.

Death mask of George Melville courtesy of National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Old Melbourne Gaol Collection

A colourful story from Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait
About Face article

From infamous bushranger to oyster shop display, curator Jo Gilmour explores the life of George Melville.

Thomas Woolner

Missing Persons

Thomas Woolner in Australia
About Face article

Desperately seeking Woolner medallions

Opening of the First Legislative Council of Victoria, by Governor Charles Joseph LaTrobe, at St Patrick's Hall, Bourke Street West, Melbourne. November 13th 1851. From sketches taken at the time by William Strutt.

Magna Carta

About Face article

On this day eight hundred years ago at Runnymede near Windsor, King John signed Magna Carta.

Gough Whitlam

Prime Ministers

About Face article

On the day before the Hon. E. G. Whitlam, AC, QC, died last month, at the great age of 98, there were seven former prime ministers of Australia still living, plus the incumbent Mr. Abbott – eight in all.

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’.

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.

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.

Barry Humphries

Talking heads

About Face article

In their own words lead researcher Louise Maher on the novel project that lets the Gallery’s portraits speak for themselves.

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. 

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.

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.

Lustre, held by a Groom, ca. 1762 by George Stubbs

Stubbs and the horse

About Face article

One of the chief aims of George Stubbs, 1724–1806, the late Judy Egerton’s great 198485 exhibition at the Tate Gallery was to provide an eloquent rebuttal to Josiah Wedgwood’s famous remark of 1780: “Noboby suspects Mr Stubs [sic] of painting anything but horses & lions, or dogs & tigers.”

Angus Trumble Director, National Portrait Gallery

Cherish the brethren

About Face article

Fortunately, perhaps, there is no instruction manual for newly appointed art museum directors.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN

Robert Oatley AO

1928–2016
About Face article

The National Portrait Gallery mourns the loss of one our most generous benefactors, Robert Oatley AO.

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.

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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