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Australian art

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A Chinese cook shop

(circa 1887)


Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


'The Chinese cook shop' was first exhibited in Melbourne in October 1887 at the Australian Artists' Association exhibition. Roberts planned to have it professionally editioned in London. It was exhibited again in Sydney in 1921 at the Australian Painter-Etchers Society's first exhibition, re-titled 'The opium den'. The plate was found in the studio of etcher Cyril Dillon, who printed proofs in 1920 when Roberts was visiting Australia.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, AGNSW, 1998


Other Title

The opium den


(circa 1887)

Media category


Materials used

etching, printed in dark brown ink with plate tone on ivory wove paper


20.4 x 15.2 cm platemark; 32.1 x 20.5 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.l., pencil "Tom Roberts.". Not dated.


Purchased 1978


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Roger Arthur Butler, Printed images by Australian artists 1885-1955, Canberra, 2007, 9, 10 (colour illus.). Collection of National Gallery of Australia

Nicolas Draffin, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Prints and Drawings - Australia, European and American', pg. 47-66, Sydney, 1981, 49, 66 (illus.). 43

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 28 (illus.). 28

Hendrik Kolenberg, Everyday life: prints drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European art, Sydney, 1994. 71

Anne Ryan, Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2007, 15 (colour illus.). 18