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Australian art

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Ned Kelly



Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 - 28 Nov 1992

Portalegre Tapestry Workshop



This impressive tapestry is based on Nolan's painting 'Kelly and horse' 1946, part of the artist's 1974 gift to the nation held at the Nolan Gallery, Lanyon, near Canberra. It was one of six unique tapestries Nolan had made, based on his first series of Ned Kelly paintings, at the Portalegre Tapestry Workshop, Portugal (also used by Arthur Boyd and John Olsen) during the 1970s. Subsequently, a number of these were exhibited at David Jones' Gallery in Sydney in 1973 and later in 1975, after the completion of this work.

Translation of the original painted image to a large tapestry, has resulted in an amplification of scale that greatly increases the dramatic and emotional impact of Nolan's subject.

Natalie Wilson
Curator, Australian & Pacific Art


Place where the work was made

Portalegre Portugal



Media categories

Textile , Weaving

Materials used

wool tapestry




296.0 x 415.0 cm variable

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner within weave, brown wool "Nolan". Not dated.


Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 2001


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Sidney Nolan

Works in the collection


Artist information

Portalegre Tapestry Workshop

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 8 publications


Brian Adams, Sidney Nolan: such is life, Melbourne, 1987, 220. Refers to 1973 tapestry exhibition.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 8.

Maureen Gilchrist, Nolan at Lanyon: an exhibition of the Sidney Nolan gift of twenty-four paintings to the Australian people, Canberra, 1976, 36. 13 is the painting 'Kelly and horse' on which this tapestry is based. There is a colour reproduction of this painting, plate no. 3.

Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart selections, Sydney, 2002. NOTE: no catalogue numbers; dated 1971; Margaret Olley selection.

Andrew Sayers, The Ned Kelly Paintings: Nolan at Heide 1946-47, Melbourne, 1997, 46, 73. 23 is the painting 'Kelly and horse' on which this tapestry is based. There is a colour reproduction of this painting on page 46.

Sotheby's Australia, Fine Australian paintings: including European paintings and a selection of fine furniture, Sydney, 1990, (colour illus.). 327

Daniel Thomas., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Upending European tradition', Sydney, 13 Mar 1975, page unknown. General reference about tapestry exhibition, but not directly about this tapestry.

Editor Unknown (Editor in Chief), The Australian financial review, 'Sidney Nolan tapestry for gallery', Sydney, 09 Aug 2001, page unknown. 'Oddlots' section