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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.

Joanna Gilmour

Joanna Gilmour

Biography

Joanna Gilmour is the Curator, Collection & Research at the National Portrait Gallery.

Janai and Josh, 2011 by Simon Harsent

NPPP 2012 exhibition essay

General content

Joanna Gilmour, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2012 Prize.

Face of South Sudan, 2012 by Melanie Faith Dove

NPPP 2013 exhibition essay

General content

Joanna Gilmour, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2013 Prize.

Self portrait

The Dissecting Room

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Joanna Gilmour accounts for Australia’s deliciously ghoulish nineteenth century criminal portraiture. 

Chance meeting, 1940-41 by Martin Lewis

Nocturnal animals

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2017

Joanna Gilmour explores the enticing urban shadows cast by artists Martin Lewis and Edward Hopper.

Self portrait

Expect the unexpected

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour revels in accidental artist Charles Rodius’ nineteenth century renderings of Indigenous peoples.

Venetia, Lady Digby, circa 1633-1634 by Sir Anthony van Dyck

Love in the extreme

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2020

Joanna Gilmour reveals love’s more intense manifestations in the tale of Lord Kenelm and Venetia Digby.

Self portrait, 1786 by John Kay

Alternative virtue

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Joanna Gilmour presents John Kay’s portraits of a more infamous side of Edinburgh.

Mr John Eason

The shipwright's arms

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and times of convict-turned-artist William Buelow Gould.

Jenny Kee, 2015 Carla Fletcher

Twin chics

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2021

Joanna Gilmour on the exuberant union of fashion pioneers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, captured in luminescent splendour by artist Carla Fletcher.

William Shakespeare, c. 1600-1610  associated with John Taylor

Take thy face hence

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2022

Joanna Gilmour travels through time to explore the National Portrait Gallery London’s masterpieces in Shakespeare to Winehouse.

Study for Aunty Mary King, 2010 by Mathew Lynn

The animating signature

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmore delights in the affecting drawings of Mathew Lynn.

Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 (detail) Grant Matthews

Pub Rock

Your backstage pass to 70s and 80s sounds and scenes
Previous exhibition, 2020

Celebrate the people, places and sounds of Australian pub rock and its enduring impact on our nation’s identity.

Yhonnie and Indiana, 2012 by Janelle Low

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2013

Previous exhibition, 2013

The National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition is selected from a national field of entries that reflect the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

Lady Barkly

Carte-o-mania!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Drawn from the NPG’s burgeoning collection of cartes de visite, Carte-o-mania! celebrates the wit, style and substance of the pocket-sized portraits that were taken and collected like crazy in post-goldrush Australia.

Henry Lawson

Jo's mo show

(with beards)
Previous exhibition, 2011

This exhibition illustrates changes in beards, moustaches and sideburns from the 1780s to the 1980s.

Ned Kelly death mask

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait
Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa

Husbands and Wives

Photographic Portraits from 19th Century Australia
Previous exhibition, 2010

'I have just been to my dressing case to take a peep at you.

Madame du Barry, 1791 by Richard Cosway

Little women

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour looks beyond the ivory face of select portrait miniatures to reveal their sitters’ true grit.

Cachasunghia, Osage Warrior 1804–06 by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin

Political profiles

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

Joanna Gilmour examines the prolific output of Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin, and discovers the risk of taking a portrait at face value.

Tom Wills, c. 1870 by William Handcock

Secure the shadow ere the substance fade

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

The tragic tale of Tom Wills, the ‘inventor’ of Australian Rules Football.

Waterfall in Australia, c. 1830 by Augustus Earle

Augustus serendipitous

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

The London-born son of an American painter, Augustus Earle ended up in Australia by accident in January 1825. 

The Rajah quilt, 1841 by Kezia Hayter

Material culture

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2018

The Rajah Quilt’s narrative promptings are as intriguing as the textile is intricate.

Robert OHara Burke, 1860

The Parlour

General content

The Victorian era has been described as one wherein death was a part of everyday experience. People died at home having been nursed in their final illnesses by family members. 

Self portrait

Home truths

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Despite once expressing a limited interest in the self portrait, the idea of it has figured strongly in much of Tracey Moffatt's work and has done so in some of her most distinctive and compelling images.

Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite, c.1879 attributed to Charles Nettleton

The Portrait Gallery

General content

Photography played a significant role in the circulation of messages about law and order, and in the creation of sensation and celebrity. 

Ned Kelly death mask

The Waxworks

General content

Waxworks were among the various types of entertainment venue to emerge in Australian cities in the mid-nineteenth century. 

Phrenology video: 3 minutes 25 seconds

The Dissecting Room

General content

Though initially developed by physicians, phrenology was taken up by certain non-medical practitioners who applied the theory to social questions such as education and criminal reform. 

At the Pantechnetheca, Exhibition, Eastern Arcade, Dominick Sonsee, the smallest man in the world

The Freak Show

General content

Many performers availed themselves of the services of photographic studios, posing for carte de visite portraits that served as souvenirs and as instruments in the making of renown and notoriety.       

The artist and her family, c. 1854 by Martha Berkeley

Presence and absence

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2018

The art of Australia’s colonial women painters affords us an invaluable, alternative perspective on the nascent nation-building project.

The Memoirs of George Barrington

The Library

General content

By the end of the eighteenth century, crime, criminals and punishment were standard subjects for those engaged in the English print trade. 

A Goldfields Member

Showing character

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

Joanna Gilmour on Tom Durkin playing with Melbourne's manhood.

A surface against which we can move, 2014 by Sam Leach

No small wonder

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Joanna Gilmour describes how artist Sam Leach works on a small scale to grand effect.

Jack Charles

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012

Previous exhibition, 2012

The National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition is selected from a national field of entries that reflect the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

George and Jemima Billet with family

Costantini's convictions

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2017

Jo Gilmour uncovers endearing authenticity in the art of a twice-transported Tasmanian.

Richard Morecroft & Alison Mackay

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

Previous exhibition, 2017

The exhibition is selected from a national field of entries, reflecting the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

A Sydney family, 1840s

The house, the horse, the wife and the offspring

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour writes about the portraiture of the colonial artist William Nicholas.

Brown form with stripes, 1961

Figurative foundation

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and art of the Australian artist Janet Dawson.

Isabel Letham, Bilgola Beach, c. 1916

Like wow

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of female Australian surfing legend Isabel Letham.

Quong Tart, 1880s

Finest quality

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of Chinese-Australian businessman and philanthropist Quong Tart.

Mutiny on the Bounty (The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship the Bounty)

High & Bligh

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Joanna Gilmour explores the 1790 portrait of William Bligh by Robert Dodd.

Annette Kellerman, c. 1916

Naked ambition

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour dives into the life of Australian swimming legend Annette Kellerman.

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.

Self portrait

In good company

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2015

Jean Appleton’s 1965 self portrait makes a fine addition to the National Portrait Gallery’s collection writes Joanna Gilmour.

Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown (detail), 2006 (printed 2020) © Peter Brew-Bevan

Australian Love stories

Family, friends, fanatics and foes (and everything in between!)
Previous exhibition, 2021

Reconnect and reflect with our new major exhibition, Australian Love Stories (in real life!) as we explore love, affection and connection in all its guises.

Annette Kellerman

Indecent exposure

Annette Kellerman
Previous exhibition, 2011

'Diving Venus' and 'the perfect woman' are two of the numerous descriptions applied to Annette Kellerman, who achieved international fame during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Portfolio of 54 portraits compiled by Queen Victoria, 1859–1861 by John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Camille Silvy, Frances Day and William Bambridge

Queen of cartes

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour discusses the role of the carte de visite in portraiture’s democratisation, and its harnessing by Victoria, the world’s first media monarch.

Self portrait

Of ice and men

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Frank Hurley's celebrated images document the heroism and minutiae of Australian exploration in Antarctica.

Jessie Street

Worth her salt

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Jerrold Nathan's portrait of Jessie Street shows the elegant side of a many-faceted lady.

Nancy Bird Walton, c. 1938

The aviatrix

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the extraordinary life of Australian female aviator Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE

The Cutmear sisters, Jane and Lucy, c. 1842

A man of superior attainments

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of a colonial portrait artist, writer and rogue Thomas Griffiths Wainewright.

Self portrait

Small worlds

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Bess Norriss Tait created miniature watercolour portraits full of character and life.

Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)

Chance encounter

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and times of one of Melbourne's early socialites, Jessie Eyre Williams.

Studio of the American & Australasian Photographic Co., Hill End, 1872

A rogue's calling card

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Joanna Gilmour explores the stories behind the ninteenth-century carte de visites of bushrangers Frank Gardiner and Fred Lowry.

Lola Montes

You beauty

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the fact and fictions surrounding the legendary life of Irish-born dancer Lola Montez.

The Sands Brothers (group photograph)

Seeing stars

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour explores photographic depictions of Aboriginal sportsmen including Lionel Rose, Dave Sands, Jerry Jerome and Douglas Nicholls.

Sir Douglas Mawson

Staying home

True south #2
About Face article

Joanna Gilmour brings a mindful Douglas Mawson’s perspective to bear on the concept of isolation.

Self portrait

Fine and dandy

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Whether the result of misadventure or misdemeanour, many accomplished artists were transported to Australia where they ultimately left a positive mark on the history of art in this country.

Portrait of Henry Vernon Crock AO

Private practice

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008
David Smith portrayed Dr Henry Crock without the accoutrements of an orthopaedic surgeon, adding to the National Portrait Gallery's collection of eminent Australian medical practitioners.
Florence Austral

Pretty in peach

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008
It's remarkable that the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond has produced two of Australia's most successful opera singers. Three decades apart, but within a short distance of each other, both Helen Porter Mitchell and Florence Wilson were born.
Charles Summers

The importance of being bearded

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2012

Joanna Gilmour discovers that the beards of the ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills were as epic as their expedition to traverse Australia from south to north.

Ethel Turner

Moving in creative circles

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Harold Cazneaux's portraits of influential Sydneysiders included Margaret Preston and Ethel Turner, both important figures in the development of ideas about Australian identity and culture.

Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats

South-bound and down

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour recounts the story of ill-fated sea voyages in the early stages of the Antipodean colony.

Sir William Charles Windeyer

Private virtues public lives

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Family affections are preserved in a fine selection of intimate portraits.

Ellen Stirling

Duty bound

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of colonial women Lady Ellen Stirling, Eliza Darling, Lady Eliza Arthur, Elizabeth Macquarie and Lady Jane Franklin.

Self portrait

Elegance in exile

Portrait drawings from colonial Australia
Previous exhibition, 2012

Elegance in exile is an exhibition surveying the work of Richard Read senior, Thomas Bock, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Charles Rodius: four artists who, though exiled to Australia as convicts, created many of the most significant and elegant portraits of the colonial period.

Mary Ann Lawrence, 1841

Fits of delicacy and despair

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Henry Mundy's portraits flesh out notions of propriety and good taste in a convict colony.

Self portrait, c. 1770–75  by Angelica Kauffmann

In conversation with Jo Gilmour

General content

An Auslan interpreted program with Curator, Collection & Research, Joanna Gilmour, exploring some of the stories, artworks and people who have made it to our shores (and walls of the Gallery!).

Portrait 63

Winter 2019
Magazine

Rod McNicol's method and motivation, 19th century Indigenous peoples, Barrie Cassidy on Bob Hawke, five generations of the Kang family from Korea and more.

In Conversation

Rock Chick: Lindy Morrison, 12th March 2021
Recorded virtual programs

Lindy Morrison has played in her share of bands over the years. From jazz to pop to punk, she’s been an ever-present force in Australian music.

Portrait 60

Spring 2018
Magazine

Ralph Heimans on his portraits, and features on Louis Kahan, Helena Rubinstein, Judy Cassab and Tasmanian convicts.

Maria Windeyer
Maria Windeyer
Maria Windeyer

Maria Windeyer, c. 1860s

an unknown artist
Portrait, albumen photograph, hand coloured

Gift of Joanna Russell Maher (née Windeyer) 2018

Ned Kelly death mask

Sideshow Alley: Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

5 December 2015
Archived media releases 2015

Bushrangers, oddities, true crime and scandal come together in this modern day cabinet of curiosities.

15 minutes of frame

NPG Wellington, Edinburgh and Canberra, 10th March 2021
Recorded virtual programs

Delve into the lives, loves and labour of the world’s most prominent portrait galleries in this international conversation series.

Portrait 62

Autumn 2019
Magazine

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019, the iconoclastic Japanese figures Yukio Mishima and Tamotsu Yato, Angélica Dass’ Humanæ project and more.

Portait 65

Portrait 65

Autumn/Winter 2021
Magazine

Hugh Ramsay, the fashion of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, Peter Wegner's centenarian series, John and Elizabeth Gould's family connections, Karen Quinlan's top five portraits and more.

Portrait 64

Summer 2019/20
Magazine

Marian Anderson, emerging photographer Charles Dennington, piscatorial portraits, and the poignant path of photographer Polixeni Papapetrou and more.

Portrait 66

Portrait 66

Summer 2021/22
Magazine

The Huxleys, National Portrait Gallery London’s masterpieces, Jennifer Higgie on portraits of women by women, Tamara Dean, Bangarra, Glynis Jones on fashion photographers, and NPG/NGV collaboration.

Emmanuel at bedtime, 2011 by George Mifsud

To startle the eye

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2012

National Photographic Portrait Prize judge Joanna Gilmour previews the 2012 exhibition.

Jack Charles

NPPP 2012 learning resource

Learning resource archive

Exploring select works from the NPPP 2012. For secondary students.

Yhonnie and Indiana, 2012

Surface tension

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour on the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2013.

Portrait 61

Summer 2018/19
Magazine

Max Dupain's unknown portrait subjects, phrenologist Madame Sibly, Indigenous-European relationships, Thomas Gainsborough and more.

Who's Jo?

General content

Find out about the curator of the exhibition.

Zareth, 2009

I am mine

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Dr Christopher Chapman, curator and judge of the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009 contextualises the themes of the exhibition.

Zareth, 2009 by Scott Bycroft

NPPP 2010 exhibition essay

General content

Dr Christopher Chapman, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2010 Prize.

Ann Mary Windeyer
Ann Mary Windeyer
Ann Mary Windeyer

Ann Mary Windeyer, 1847

G Ziegler
Portrait, pastel and gouache on paper laid down on backing sheet

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Joanna Russell Maher (née Windeyer) 2018

Henry Chamberlain Russell and family at Sydney Observatory
Henry Chamberlain Russell and family at Sydney Observatory
Henry Chamberlain Russell and family at Sydney Observatory

Henry Chamberlain Russell and family at Sydney Observatory, c. 1895

Charles Bayliss
Portrait, albumen silver photograph

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Joanna Russell Maher (née Windeyer) 2018

Judith Wright with Barbara Blackman
Judith Wright with Barbara Blackman
Judith Wright with Barbara Blackman

Judith Wright with Barbara Blackman, c. 1956

Charles Blackman OBE
Portrait, oil on paper laid down on board

Gift of Joanna McNiven 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

Lady Barkly

New exhibition tells big stories through pint-sized portraits

2 November 2018
Archived media releases 2018

The National Portrait Gallery is bringing the Victorian era back to life in a special exhibition exploring the colour and character of post-goldrush Australia. 

A woman of New South Wales, c. 1840

More cash than dash

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2011

Joanna Gilmour describes how colonial portraitists found the perfect market among social status seeking Sydneysiders.

Marcia Langton

The story of us

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2022

Gallery directors Karen Quinlan and Tony Ellwood talk to Penelope Grist about the NPG and NGV collaborative exhibition, Who Are You: Australian Portraiture.

Dulcie Deamer, c. 1920

Out of the shadows

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour profiles the life and times of the shutter sisters May and Mina Moore.

Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de La Perouse, c. 1785

Sea legged frogs

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2011

Joanna Gilmour describes some of the stories of the individuals and incidents that define French exploration of Australia and the Pacific.

Tim Winton

2020 Annual Appeal

Annual Appeal

In 2020 the Annual Appeal was focussed on Sally Robinson's remarkable portrait of author Tim Winton.

Trevor Jamieson, 2016 by Brett Canet-Gibson

The more things change...

NPPP 2017 exhibition essay
General content

Dr Sarah Engledow, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2017 Prize.

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.

Jessie Street

Australia’s great internationalists

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist explores the United Nations stories in the Gallery’s collection.

image not online

Annual Appeal

Listed by year
Honour board
The Jester (self portrait)

Bloodlines

Magazine article by Michelle Fracaro, 2004

Michelle Fracaro describes Lionel Lindsay's woodcut The Jester (self-portrait).

image not online

Portrait Donors

Listed by year
Honour board
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.

Love City; George Gittoes on hilltop 2013

Man of war

Magazine article by Tedi Bills, 2016

Tedi Bills talks to George Gittoes about canvassing conflict.

Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)

Getting bare

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

How seven portraits within Bare reveal in a public portrait parts of the body and elements of life usually located in the private sphere.

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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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