Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

View More:


recto: Arthur Streeton (Study for 'Smike Streeton age 24') verso: (study of a veiled woman)

(circa 1891)


Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


This is a rare study for the much admired painted portrait 'Smike Streeton, age 24', 1891, purchased by the Gallery in 1945. It has the acuity of observation and immediacy of a study from life, lacking in a larger charcoal drawing Roberts made of Streeton in 1890 and purchased by the Gallery in 1934. The close association between Roberts and Streeton, as two of the most important Australian artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, alone highlights the art historical value of this drawing. On its verso is a study of a female figure in a cloak.

R H Croll (1869-1947), librarian, senior public servant and writer, was Roberts' first biographer - 'Tom Roberts, father of Australian landscape painting' (1935). Croll also edited the first publication of Streeton's letters - 'Smike to bulldog' (1946). The Australian watercolour painter Len Annois (1906-66) was also a previous owner of the drawing.

excerpt from Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, '19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels in the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005



(circa 1891)

Media category


Materials used

pencil on cream wove paper


32.8 x 24.3 cm sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1998


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 1998, 'Collections', pg. 15-19, Sydney, 1998, 15 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, 'Introduction', pg. 6-16, Sydney, 2005, 10, 84 (colour illus.).