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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.

Self-portrait in black jumper, 2017 Graeme Drendel

Be frank

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2020

Close encounters are the genesis for Graeme Drendel’s enticing portraiture.

Ann Moyal

The elegant thinker

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2020

Sarah Engledow pens a fond farewell to acclaimed science historian Ann Moyal.

The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KGAK GCMG GCVO KBE QC, 2006 by Rick Amor

Prima facie

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow casts a judicious eye over portraits in the Victorian Bar’s Peter O’Callaghan QC Portrait Gallery.

Helen Blaxland judging flower arrangements, c. 1940s photographer unknown

Petal to the mettle

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow lauds the very civil service of Dame Helen Blaxland.

Jacki Weaver

Flash mob

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow trains her exacting lens on the nine photographs from 20/20.

Self portrait

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

Greek Orthodox Priest, 2015 by Sarah Ball

Hope for kindness

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow arrives at the junction of fate and hope in Sarah Ball’s poignant Immigrants series.

David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding

Through thick and thin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow likes the manifold mediums of Nicholas Harding’s portraiture.

NPPP finalists

20 20

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow picks some favourites from a decade of the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Billie, 2016 by Graeme Drendel

In your dreams

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2016

An excerpt from The Popular Pet Book.

Studio portrait of Lord Kitchener, British Secretary of State for War, 1914 by J Russell & Sons

All the way with K of K

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2016

Sarah Engledow bristles at the biographers’ neglect of Kitchener’s antipodean intervention.

Commander Skyring, Gang-gang cockatoo by Leila Jeffreys

A real tweet

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2016

Sarah Engledow plays wingman to Leila Jeffreys.

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.

Rehearsing Godot (Mullins as Lucky) 4.11.2013 by Nicholas Harding

Waiting for Godot

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

'Artist and actors, advancing spasmodically, find their rhythm together' writes Sarah Engledow.

Henry Lawson

Regarding Henrys

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

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

Patrick Ryan, 1968 by Mark Strizic

The silent partner

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

One half of the team that was Eltham Films left scarcely a trace in the written historical record, but survives in a vivid portrait.

Lady Barkly

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.

Portrait of Thea Proctor, 1905 by George Lambert

The real Thea

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

Long after the portraitist became indifferent to her, and died, a beguiling portrait hung over its subject.

Adrian Rawlins

Earth to earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow discusses the recent gift of works by David Campbell.

Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980

Listomania

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Sarah Engledow describes the fall-out once Brett Whiteley stuck Patrick White’s list of his loves and hates onto his great portrait of the writer.

Janice Wakely

Generous Janice

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow puts four gifts to the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection in context.

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012

Imagination

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow tells the story of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee portrait by Australian artist Ralph Heimans.

The family

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.

The sisters, 1904

Beguiling impressions

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2012

Sarah Engledow is seduced by the portraits and the connections between the artists and their subjects in the exhibition Impressions: Painting light and life.

Robyn Archer, 2010

Real close

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2012

Peter Ciemitis breached regulations when creating the portrait of the polymath environmental scientist George Seddon.

Federal Statistican Knibbs

The numbers man

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Dr. Sarah Engledow tells the story of Australia's first Federal statistician, Sir George Knibbs.

Dorothy Porter

Beautiful bones

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Sarah Engledow reflects on the shared life and writing of Dorothy Porter and Andrea Goldsmith.

John Bell as King Lear oil on Belgian linen, 2001 by Nicholas Harding

Lear unbuttoned

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Sarah Engledow steps up to the footlights and applauds the storyline behind Nicholas Harding's portraits of actor John Bell.

Miss Alesandra, 2010

The more things change

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

National Photographic Portrait Prize curator, Sarah Engledow, finds reward in a difficult task and ultimately uncovers the essence of portraiture.

Sir Joseph Banks

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.

Self portrait 1955

Portrait of the artist as a young man

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the early life and career of John Brack.

Charles Haddon Chambers

Suave

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Charles Haddon Chambers the Australian-born playboy playwright settled permanently in London in 1880 but never lost his Australian stance when satirising the English.

Portrait of Mary MacKillop c 1873

The Saint and the merchant

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Emanuel Solomon gave shelter to the Sisters of St Joseph upon the excommunication of St Mary MacKillop.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Each morning when I wake up I put on my mothers face, 2000

Paths to portraiture

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

The life and art of Australian artist Jenny Sages is on display in the exhibition Paths to Portraiture.

Robert Drewe (in the swell)

Undercurrent

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the portraiture of Australian artist Nicholas Harding.

Portrait sketch of Nellie Melba

Doodles of the Diva

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Three tiny sketches of Dame Nellie Melba in the NPG collection were created by the artist who was to go on to paint the most imposing representation of the singer: Rupert Bunny.

General Birdwood, the Idol of Anzac, taking a dip in the sea after a hard days work 1915

In the thick of it

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Projecting the splendour of the empire, and the resolve of its subjects, the bust of William Birdwood keeps a stiff upper lip in the National Portrait Gallery.

Sir Lawrence Wackett

Starry knight

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Aircraft designer, pilot and entrepreneur, Sir Lawrence Wackett rejoins friends and colleagues on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery.

My father-in-law watering his garden, 1986 by Davida Allen

Lovingly observed

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sarah Engledow previews the beguiling summer exhibition, Idle hours.

Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster

To the end of the earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

The portrait of Dr. Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster from 1780, is one of the oldest in the NPG's collection.

Sir Charles Lloyd Jones

Home and away

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sir William Dobell painted the portraits of Sir Charles Lloyd Jones and Sir Hudson Fysh, who did much to promote the image of Australia in this country and abroad.

Artist and wife near Arthurs Seat, 1969

Through blue eyes

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Works by Arthur Boyd and Sidney Nolan bring the desert, the misty seashore and the hot Monaro plains to exhibition Open Air: Portraits in the landscape.

Me

Donated duo

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the gift of two striking paintings by the Australian artist Ken Done AM.

Mr and Mrs Horace Keats in the

Heartfelt

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

The portrait of Janet and Horace Keats with the spirit of the poet Christopher Brennan is brought to life by artist Dora Toovey.

Sir Sidney Kidman

The fat of the land

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sir Sidney Kidman (1857-1935) is inscribed in Australian legend as the ‘Cattle King’. 

The National Portrait Gallery

A very Australian place

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

The National Portrait Gallery's new building, opened on 3 December 2008, is a beautiful home for the national collection of portraits.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN

Thrown together

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Shipmates for years, James Cook and Joseph Banks each kept a journal but neither man shed light on their relationship.

Practising the Minuet (Miss Hilda Spong)

An actress and her fans

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Dr. Sarah Engledow discovers the amazing life of Ms. Hilda Spong, little remembered star of the stage, who was captured in a portrait by Tom Roberts.

Layne Beachley

Everybody's heard about the bird

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Two professionals; Australian surfer Layne Beachley and photographer Petrina Hicks, combine their strengths to achieve a remarkable portrait.

Tim Winton

Tracks in the sand

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Dr Sarah Engledow discusses Quentin Jones's photograph of Australian author Tim Winton.

Miss Evelyn Chapman, 1918

Lovers of light

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Dr Sarah Engledow traces the significant links between Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo and Evelyn Chapman through their portraits.

Captain W Kinghorne

The bright-eyed Mariner

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008
A new colonial portrait brings a zealous captain near.
Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984

The activist A-list

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow examines a number of figures in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery who were pioneers or substantial supporters of the seminal Australian environmental campaigns of the early 1970s and 1980s.

MacKenzie family silhouette

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.

Walter Lindrum OBE

Cannonical

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Walter Lindrum, world-famous billiards player, was one of Australia's greatest sporting champions.

Dame Mary Gilmore

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.

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG

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.

Sir Frank Packer KBE

Vintage Cassab

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The oil portrait of Sir Frank Packer KBE by Judy Cassab was gifted to the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

Steve Irwin

Crikey!

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Robin Sellick captured a rare moment of quietude from the late conservation star Steve Irwin.

Billy Hughes paperweight

Mugshots

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

A toast to the acquisition of an unconventional new portrait of former Prime Minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce.

Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE

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.

Sidney Nolan, Western Australia

Cultural kaleidoscope

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The complex connections between four creative Australians; Patrick White, Sidney Nolan, Robert Helpmann and Peter Sculthorpe.

Self portrait

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.

Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross

Aussies All

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Rennie Ellis photographs the self-proclaimed 'Witch of Kings Cross'.

Leigh Bowery in Fur Coat

Hyperversity

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the larger-than-life Australian performance artist, Leigh Bowery.

Sir Edward Holden

Promise Fulfilled

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The life and achievements of Sir Edward Holden, who is represented in the portrait collection by a bust created by Leslie Bowles.

Dr Fiona Wood AM

The Good Doctor

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr Sarah Engledow describes the achievements of internationally renowned burns and trauma surgeon Professor Fiona Wood.

Rock Island Bend. Franklin River, South West Tasmania, 1979 by Peter Dombrovskis

Written in Water

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis, photographers and conservationists, shared a love of photography and exploring wilderness areas of Tasmania.

Eileen Dunne in The Hospital for Sick Children, 1940

The incomparable Beaton

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

To accompany the exhibition Cecil Beaton: Portraits, held at the NPG in 2005, this article is drawn from Hugo Vickers's authorised biography, Cecil Beaton (1985).

Professor Peter Doherty

Friends and Acquaintances

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr. Sarah Engledow discusses a collection of drawings and prints by the Victorian artist Rick Amor acquired in 2005.

Sir Lindesay Clark

The Stories Beneath

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005
The Alcoa World Alumina Australia gift.
Les Murray

Poets' Portraits

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The Portrait Gallery's paintings of two poets, Les Murray and Peter Porter, demonstrate two very different artists' responses to the challenge of representing more than usually sensitive and imaginative men.

The rose, 1927

The world of Thea Proctor

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The world of Thea Proctor was the National Portrait Gallery's second exhibition to follow the life of a single person, following Rarely Everage: The lives of Barry Humphries.

Pat Mackie

Blue Collar Icon

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr Sarah Engledow delves into the life of union leader Pat Mackie who is depicted in a portrait by Nancy Borlase AM.

Portrait of Ninette Dutton

In a glance

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the portrait of Ninette Dutton by Bette Mifsud.

Nancy Wake - The White Mouse

Capturing the Mouse

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

Nancy Wake AC (b. 1912), one of the most­ decorated women of World War 2, earned the name the 'White Mouse' for her maddening ability to evade the Gestapo.

Portrait of George Selth Coppin

The Multifarious Career of George Selth Coppin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

George Selth Coppin (1819-1906) comedian, impresario and entrepreneur, was a driving force of the early Australian theatre.

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa

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.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN

Capturing Cook

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2003

In focussing on the importance of gifts in the building of the collection, prominence must be given to the most spectacular of the National Portrait Gallery's acquisitions; the portrait of Captain James Cook RN by John Webber R.A.

Mr Mortimer Lewis

Little treasures

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2002

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

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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.

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