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Australian art

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Bertram Mackennal



Abbey Alston

England, Australia, United States of America

21 Aug 1866 - 1949


Abbey (Abraham) Alston was born in Yorkshire, England, came to Australia in 1883 and studied drawing and painting in Melbourne at the National Gallery School. Awarded the school's Travelling Scholarship in 1891, he sailed for Paris where he studied at a number of ateliers including Colarossi's. Altson exhibited a portrait of Mackennal's daughter Henrietta at the Paris Salon and moved to London in 1894. There he worked as an illustrator and also established himself as a painter of portraits. He moved to the USA in 1939.

Bertram Mackennal (1862-1931), the most distinguished Australian sculptor of his generation, was born in Melbourne and studied at the National Gallery School before leaving for London in 1883. Mackennal was introduced to Rodin by John Russell in Paris, where he also exhibited his best known work, 'Circe', at the salon in 1893. He worked and exhibited in England, France and Australia, was the first Australian artist to be elected to the Royal Academy in London in 1909 and the first to be knighted, in 1921.

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


Place where the work was made




Media category


Materials used

carbon pencil on paper


17.1 x 12.0 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pencil "A. ALTSOn./94.".


Accessioned 2004


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Abbey Alston

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2005, Sydney, 2005, 63.

Michael Barden, Australian Journal of Philately, 'Sir Edgar Bertram MacKennal, KCVO (1863-1931): Australian Sculptor, Medal and Stamp Designer', pg. 15-18, Melbourne, Sep 2008, 15 (colour illus.).

Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, Melbourne, 1985, 21 (illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Bertram Mackennal: the fifth Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Project, Sydney, 2007, 39 (colour illus.).

Sarah Engledow, Impressions: painting light & life, Catalogue essay, pg. 7-16, Canberra, 2011, 14, 86 (caption), 87 (colour illus.). 35

R Jope-Slade, The magazine of art, 'An Australian quartet', pg. 389-390, London, 1895, 389 (illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Australian images from the past: whether rarely seen or familiar, these works move and delight us', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Apr 2005, 27.

Hendrik Kolenberg, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, 'Introduction', pg. 6-16, Sydney, 2005, 10, 114, 115 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990. 2

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales - Jul-Dec 1997 Calendar, 'The influence of Sarah Bernhardt's Australian Tour', Sydney, Jul 1997-Dec 1997, (illus.).