One of his finest, most sensitive portraits, Roberts' 'Portrait of Florence' was one of a number of paintings that were inspired by pretty women and a delight in the decorative fashions of the day. Florence Greaves was a painter and former pupil of Roberts, whose father W.A.B. Greaves owned Newbold Station (north of Grafton, New South Wales) where Roberts painted 'A mountain muster' 1897.
While highlighting Roberts’ ability to position and light his subjects to best advantage – a skill he had acquired during his time as a studio photographer – the delicate palette, particular attention to flesh colour and use of black, reveal influences from Whistler and Velásquez that Roberts had absorbed during his visit to England and the continent in 1882-1884.
oil on canvas on paperboard
66.6 x 38.7 cm stretcher; 77.5 X 49.0 x 7.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Bequest of Florence Turner Blake 1959
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 6 exhibitions
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1959, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Mar 1960–18 Apr 1960
Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary (1962-63):
- National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 17 Mar 1962–31 Mar 1962
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 23 Sep 1962–24 Oct 1962
- Tate Britain, England 24 Jan 1963–03 Mar 1963
- National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ottawa Apr 1963–May 1963
- Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver 06 Jun 1963–22 Jun 1963
Tom Roberts (1996-1997):
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 05 Oct 1996–17 Nov 1996
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 30 Nov 1996–27 Jan 1997
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 12 Feb 1997–06 Apr 1997
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 19 Apr 1997–01 Jun 1997
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 11 Jun 1997–27 Jul 1997
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Tom Roberts Festival (2001), Inverell Art Gallery, Inverell, 27 Apr 2001–06 May 2001
Referenced in 16 publications
Robert Campbell, Paintings of Tom Roberts, Adelaide, 1962, 16, 17 (colour illus.). not paginated
Inverell Art Gallery, Tom Roberts Art Exhibition. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, 2. cat.no. 3
Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 120 (colour illus.).
Patrick H McCarthy, Bailed up: the story behind the painting, Sydney, 2006, 14-15.
Alan McCulloch, The golden age of Australian painting - Impressionism and the Heidelberg school, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 150-167, Melbourne, 1969, 77, 78 (colour illus.). plate no. 38A
Hal Missingham (Director), Purchases and acquisitions for 1959, Sydney, 1959, 12-13, 40-41 (illus.). cat.no. 22
Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. cat.no. 59
Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, Melbourne, 1978, 116 (illus.), 117, 149. illus.no. 41
William Splatt and Barbara Burton, 100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 92-93 (colour illus.). plate no. 43
Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 476 (illus.), 477.
Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 153. titled 'Florence Greaves'; cat.no. 292
Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). titled 'Florence Greaves'; plate no. 131
Clive Turnbull, Jean Campbell and Daniel Thomas, Australian painting: colonial, impressionist, contemporary, Adelaide, 1962, 40. cat.no. 48
Ronald Vickers., The Christian Science Monitor, 'Portrait of a lady', Boston, 22 Apr 1975, (illus.). Article featured in 'The Home Forum' section; page number unknown.
Peter Ward, The Australian Magazine, 'More or less than meets the eye', pg. 23-27, Sydney, 28 Sep 1996-29 Sep 1996, 25 (colour illus.).
The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1962: Special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary', Adelaide, 1962. cat.no. 55; not paginated