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An image of Grey lady (Mrs Ince) by Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts

(England, Australia 08 Mar 1856 – 14 Sep 1931)

Grey lady (Mrs Ince)
Place of origin
(circa 1910-circa 1912)
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

76.1 x 63.3 cm board; 92.7 x 77.5 x 8.2 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1946
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Painted in London where Roberts had settled in 1903 the stylish subject and relatively complex composition of this portrait reveal his ambition to attain the respected status of then fashionable portraitists such as Gainsborough and Wilson Steer. However the painting dates from a troubled period when Roberts met continued rejection by the Royal Academy. On the advice of young fellow Australian expatriate artist James Quinn, he reduced the range of colours in his palette to yellow ochre, light red, white and black, producing a number of fine works of similar low-key tonality and delicate sensitivity.

His paint-handling in this portrait, using thickly applied yet dry-looking pigment, was to form the basis of his approach to the works he produced following his return to Australia in 1923.

Bibliography (10)

Inverell Art Gallery, Tom Roberts Art Exhibition. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, 3. 6

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 94

Virginia Spade, Tom Roberts, 'Where The Sun Never Set: Tom Roberts and the British Empire', pg. 62, Adelaide, 1996, 88, 90, 91 (colour illus.), 213 (illus.).

Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, Melbourne, 1978, 124, 125 (illus.), 148. 48

Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, 'Part 3- Roberts' Work in England and Australia. 1903-1931', pg. 121-134, Melbourne, 1972, 124, 123 (colour illus.). 48

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, Heidelberg, Apr 1997, 6 (illus.).

Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 480 (illus.), 481.

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (illus.). plate no. 186

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 182. 422

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Gallery buys Roberts' works', pg. 4, Sydney, 23 Feb 1946, 4.

Exhibition history (5)

110 Years of Australian Art, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney, Sep 1950 -

A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953

Tom Roberts (1996-1997):

Tom Roberts Festival (2001), Inverell Art Gallery, Inverell, 27 Apr 2001–06 May 2001

Tom Roberts Festival - Portraiture (2006), Inverell Art Gallery, Inverell, 22 Apr 2006–05 May 2006