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(circa 1893)


Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


'Adagio' reflects Roberts' great love of music during the 1890s, when he attended regular musical soireés and counted musicians amongst his friends and portrait subjects. Representing a brief divergence from his generally realist approach, it shows the influence of the European Symbolists who were inspired by the idea of a relationship between musical and pictorial expression. Like them, Roberts aimed to encourage contemplation: evoking ideas and feelings which could not be expressed through a more literal transcription of reality.


Other Titles

Girl with Violin


Place where the work was made



(circa 1893)

Media category


Materials used

oil on paperboard


25.4 x 50.6 cm board; 24.0 x 49.4 cm sight edge; 44.4 x 69.8 x 3.6 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1947


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 14 publications


John Buckley (Curator), Nocturne: images of night and darkness from colonial to contemporary, Mornington, 2002, 10, 11 (colour illus.), 28. no catalogue numbers

Jane Clark, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, 'Sydney Harbour', pg. 150-152, Melbourne, 1985, 167 (colour illus.), 168.

Inverell Art Gallery, Tom Roberts Art Exhibition. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, 2. 1

James R. Lawson Pty Ltd, Catalogue of a most important collection of valuable works of art, Sydney, 1947, 33. 412

Susan McCulloch-Uelin, The Weekend Australian, 'Lunar dreaming', pg. R16-R17., Sydney, 20 Apr 2002-21 Apr 2002, R17 (illus.).

Humphrey McQueen, Tom Roberts, 'The fortunes of Tom Roberts', pg. 20, Adelaide, 1996, 32, 33 (colour illus.).

Denise Mimmocchi, Australian Symbolism: the art of dreams, ‘Dreams of the bohemian idyll: Charles Conder and his impact’, pg. 90-110, Sydney, 2012, 105, 108 (colour illus.), 147.

Society of Artists, Society of Artists Spring Exhibition, 'Oil section', pg. 5-16, Sydney, 1899, 6. 69

Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, 'Roberts' figure-paintings', pg. 72-103, Melbourne, 1978, 73, 84 (colour illus.), 97-99, 101, 103. plate no. 28

Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 478 (illus.).

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 129, 130. 212

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). plate no. 96

Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, ‘New Australia’, pg. 24-27, Sydney, May 2012, 39 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), Exhibition and sale of paintings by Tom Roberts, previous to his leaving Australia., Sydney, Nov 1900. titled 'Girl with Violin'; 5; priced 5 guineas