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Australian art

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(circa 1895)


Gordon Coutts


1865 - 1937


Trained at the Royal Academy schools in London and Académie Julian in Paris, Gordon Coutts arrived in Melbourne and took up studies at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. He met Tom Roberts there, whose influence is reflected in this portrait of a young woman seated in the waiting room of a wayside station in the bush. The model, in fact, posed inside a studio, with the background painted around her afterwards.

This popular painting is the artist's most esteemed Australian work. The femininity of the sitter and her fashionable attire were trademarks of portrait and genre styles at the time.



(circa 1895)

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


90.2 x 59.7 cm stretcher; 119.8 x 89 x 8cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l., "Gordon Coutts". Not dated.


Purchased 1896

Accession number


Artist information

Gordon Coutts

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Gavin Fry, Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, 'Introduction', pg. 7-10, Sydney, 1994, 28 (colour illus.), 29, 48. 7

Alison Inglis, For Auld Lang Syne: images of Scottish Australia from First Fleet to Federation, 'Patronage and plaid: Scottish-Australian artists and patrons of art in the colonial period', pg. 275-309, Ballarat, 2014, 292 (colour illus.), 293.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 123 (colour illus.).

Unknown, Parade: The story of fashion in Australia, 'Victorian Virtue', pg. 19-37, Pymble, 1998, 36 (colour illus.), 37.

Unknown, Ma Brillante Carrière, Australia, 1995, cover (illus.).

Unknown and Unknown, My brilliant career. Read by Miranda Otto, Artarmon, 1994, cover (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown, Australian Town and Country Journal, ‘Art Society’s spring exhibition’, pg. 16, Sydney, 17 Oct 1896, 16. Review of 'Waiting', 50

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Argus, ‘Victorian art. The annual winter exhibition’, pg. 6, Melbourne, 20 Sep 1895, 6.

Susanna de Vries, The complete book of great Australian women: thirty-six women who changed the course of Australia, Pymble, 2003, back cover (colour illus., detail).

Unknown, My brilliant career. Read by Miranda Otto, Ultimo, circa 2004, cover (colour illus.). 3-CD audio book (abridged) of 'My brilliant career', read by Miranda Otto.