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Australian art

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Bailed up



Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


Tom Roberts conceived the idea of a bushranger picture while he was staying at Inverell in northern NSW. He painted 'Bailed up' largely en plein air. It tells as much of the qualities of the local landscape as of its staged drama. Roberts superbly captures the summer heat conditions, which render to stillness the dramatic circumstances of a Cobb & Co hold up. The scene was painted from a purpose-built platform in a stringy bark tree, giving the work its high vantage point. Roberts modelled the figures on Inverell townspeople, including stagecoach driver 'Silent Bob Bates' who had been held up by local bushranger 'Captain Thunderbolt' three decades earlier.


From the Gallery Shop


Other Titles

Bailed Up

Bail up

The Hold Up

Sticking up the Mail Coach


Bailed Up!

Place where the work was made

Inverell New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


134.5 x 182.8 cm stretcher; 158.0 x 206.5 x 12.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, brown/red oil "Tom Roberts/ 95=/27".


Purchased 1933

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 19 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 138 publications


Len Annois (Editor), The Australian artist, 'Tom Roberts in retrospect', pg. 33-34, East Melbourne, Autumn 1948, 33 (illus.).

Belinda Arnold., Weekend Advocate, 'Captured back bone of our great country', Bathurst, 17 May 1997.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 79 (colour illus.).

Julian Ashton, Now came still evening on, Sydney, 1941, 99. Ashton refers to this work as 'Sticking up the Mail Coach'.

Leigh Astbury, Sunlight and shadow: Australian impressionist painters 1880-1900, Rushcutters Bay, 1989, 197.

Leigh Astbury, Art and Australia (Vol. 37, No. 2), 'Linda Sproul, Tom Roberts and the White Woman Project', pg. 232-235, Sydney, Dec 1999-Feb 2000, 233.

Leigh Astbury, City bushmen: the Heidelberg school and the rural mythology, Melbourne, 1985, 128-29 (colour illus.). plate no. 21

Herbert Badham, A gallery of Australian art, 'Introduction', pg. v-vii., Sydney, 1954, xiv, (illus.). plate no. 9

Lyn Beasley, Tim Gurry and Robert Lewis, Outlawed: investigating legend and reality, Melbourne, 2003, 5 (illus.).

Bill Beatty, A Treasury of Australian Folklore Illustrated Australian Classic Literature, New South Wales, cover (illus.).

Sigurd Bergmann, SÅ FRÄMMANDA DET LIKA: Samisk konst i ljuset av religion och globalisering, ‘Konst som kreativ dekolonialisering: Fyra teman i den australiska diskursen’, pg. 336-362, Norway, 2009, 355 (colour illus.). Text is published in Norwegian.

Okko Boer, Masters of the Heidelberg School, Leichhardt, 1998, 22 (colour illus.). plate no. 20

Rolf Boldrewood, The ABC/National Library of Australia Heritage Collection Robbery Under Arms read by John Stanton, cover (illus.).

Tim Bonyhady, The colonial earth, ‘Cremorne pastoral’, pg. 309-338, Carlton, 2000, 331.

Nicolas Brasch, Horses in Australia: an illustrated history, 'Horses of the lawless', pg. 58-71, Sydney, 2014, 70-71 (colour illus.).

Maurice Brodzky, Table talk, 'Victorian Artists' Exhibition.', pg. 16-17, Melbourne, 23 Oct 1896, 16. titled 'Bailed Up'; noted as incomplete

Rosemary Broomham, Vital connections: A history of NSW roads from 1788, ‘Tethering the Bush to the World 1854-1891’, pg. 60-85, Sydney, 2001, 69 (illus.).

Professor Joseph Burke, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Art in Australia', pg. 10, Sydney, 04 Feb 1954, 10 (illus.).

Ian Burn, Australian art and architecture: essays presented to Bernard Smith, 'Beating about the bush: the landscapes of the Heidelberg School', pg. 83-98, Melbourne, 1980, 89, 91.

Rex Butler (Editor), Radical revisionism: an anthology of writings on Australian art, 'Tom Roberts: "Where the sun never set"', pg. 163-174, Brisbane, 2005, 170-172.

Robert Campbell, Paintings of Tom Roberts, ‘Tom Roberts: his life and work’, pg. 1-11, Adelaide, 1962, 5, 8, 10, 28, 29 (colour illus.). not paginated from pg. 13

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian Art in the Old Courts', pg. 24-37, Sydney, 1984, 34 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon, Apollo: the international art magazine, 'Lay of the land', pg. 36-42, London, Jul 2013-Aug 2013, 40, 41 (colour illus.). Feature: Australian landscape art

Lionel Lindsay; 'Catalogue'., Tom Roberts, 'Foreword', Sydney, 1928. Foreword not paginated; titled 'Bailed Up'; 18; priced 500 guineas

Joan Chambers, Art of the land, Brookvale, 2002, 12 (colour illus.), 13-14. Children's activities book.

Betty Churcher, Australian notebooks, 'Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 45-90, Melbourne, 2014, 47, 50 (colour illus.), 52, 54, 156, 183, 252, 254.

Jane Clark, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, 'Naturalism and nationalism', pg. 128-129, Melbourne, 1985, 144-145, 145 (colour illus.).

Jonathan Cooper (Editor), Exhibitions events - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Aug 1998-Oct 1998, 10 (colour illus.).

Jonathan Cooper (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales Bulletin, 'Exhibition Highlights', pg. 9, Sydney, May 1998-Jul 1998, 9 (colour illus.).

Our Adelaide Correspondent, The Times, 'Australian art - Colonial to Contemporary', pg. 15, London, 28 Mar 1962, 15 (illus.).

Our Art Critic, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Tom Roberts’ Paintings: Sydney Show’, pg. 7, Sydney, 10 Nov 1947, 7.

Robert Croll, Tom Roberts: father of Australian landscape painting, Melbourne, 1935, 38, 164-65.

Helen Duffy (Editor), SOSE History Geography Commerce - Studies of Society and Environment, South Melbourne, 1998, 59 (colour illus.).

John Dunn, Outback, 'Legends of the outback: Australian painters inspired by the bush', pg. 72-78, Neutral Bay, Jun 2004-Jul 2004, 72 (colour illus.), 75.

Robert Engerwerda, Southern Voices, Melbourne, 1996, 174.

John Fairley, The Art of the Horse, New York, 1995, 118 (colour illus.).

F.G.F., The Sydney Morning Herald, '"Bailed up.": Tom Roberts' Painting.', pg. 11, Sydney, 14 Jul 1928, 11.

Brian Finemore, Painting, 'Introduction', pg. 4-5, London, 1961, 3, 12 (illus.).

Cameron Forbes, Australia on horseback: the story of the horse and the making of a nation, 'Prologue', pg. xv-xviii., Sydney, 2014, front cover (colour illus., detail), xxi.

Elizabeth Fortesque, Daily telegraph, 'Master strokes', pg. 124, Sydney, 22 Jul 2000, 124. Review of 'Australian Icons' exhibition.

Ann Galbally, The Cambridge companion to Australian Art, 'National life and landscape: the Heidelberg school as mythmaker 1880-1905', pg. 71-83, Port Melbourne, 2011, 80.

James Gleeson, Masterpieces of Australian painting, Melbourne, 1969, 63 (colour illus.). plate no. 16

Cyril Grabs, Queensland desperadoes: wild tales of bushranging days, Rockhampton, 2000, front cover (colour illus.).

Anne Gray, Tom Roberts, 'Tom Roberts: La vita con brio', pg. 11-30, Canberra, 2015, 16, 27, 31, 40, 42, 55, 56, 64, 69, 79, 89, 90, 91, 212, 214 (colour illus.), 215, 307, 349. 71

Sasha Grishin, The Canberra times, 'Icons a limited "showcase"', pg. 11, Ainslie, 12 Sep 2000, 1 (colour illus.), 11 (colour illus.). Review of the 'Australian Icons' exhibition which featured 'Bailed up' and other works by Tom Roberts.

Sasha Grishin, The Canberra times, 'ICONS a limited "showcase"', pg. 11, Ainslie, 12 Sep 2000, 11 (colour illus.). Review of 'Australian Icons' exhibition.

Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'A national art', pg. 128-137, Carlton, 2013, 132 (colour illus.), 133, 134, 202, 226, 567. plate no. 14.3

Heather Gwilliam, Tom Roberts, 'The Golden Age', pg. 13-22, Cambridge, 1999, 20, 21 (illus.), 22.

David Hansen, Australian Impressionism, 'National Naturalism', pg. 281-287, Melbourne, 2007, 281, 283, 286-287, 345, 294 (colour illus.). 15.8

David Hansen, The Age, 'Drawn in by a rural myth', pg. 18, Melbourne, 31 Mar 2007, 18. Review of 'Australian Impressionism' exhibition held at the National Gallery of Victoria [Ian Potter Centre].

Deborah Hart, Fred Williams: infinite horizons, 'Dialogues across series', pg. 80-89, Canberra, 2011, 81, 82 (colour illus.), 209.

Janet Hawley, Good Weekend, 'Tom Roberts Bailed Up', pg. 32-39, Sydney, 24 Feb 1996, cover (colour illus., detail), 32 (colour illus.), 33-34, 37, 39.

Stuart Hill and Martin Mulligan, Ecological pioneers: a social history of Australian ecological thought and action, 'Seeing the land in a new light: people and landscapes in Australian art', pg. 34-71, Cambridge, 2001, 47-48.

Geoff Hocking, Kings of the road: Currency lads & flash coves, 'The boldest gang of all', pg. 6-9, Port Melbourne, 2004, 7 (colour illus.).

Ann Hodgens (Editor), Tom Roberts Festival 2006: Heritage tour, 'Bailed up', pg. 50, Inverell, 2006, 3, 13-14, 23, 42, 45, 46, 48, 50, 51 (illus.).

Ann Hodgens, The people in the paintings: a research report for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Inverell, 2006, 3, 37-55, 38 (colour illus.).

Rex Ingamells, Australian Geographical Walkabout Magazine, 'Fiction walkabout', pg. 10-16, Sydney, Mar 1953, 10-11 (illus.).

Inverell Art Gallery, Tom Roberts Art Exhibition. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, 6-7, 11-12, 13. 16; note: this is a framed colour photograph of the painting 'Bailed up' which did not tour to Inverell.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 119 (colour illus.).

Sandra Jane, Art is ... making, creating and appreciating 2, Milton, 1999, 218, 219 (colour illus.).

Pat Kreuiter, Look, 'Learning to look at art: Introducing and inspiring art lovers of the future', pg. 12-13, Sydney, Oct 2008, 12-13 (colour illus.). A group of children are pictured in front of the painting.

Tony Lamberth (Editor), Australian Hereford Quarterly, Brisbane, 1996, 7.

Leonard Joel (Compilator), Australian and European paintings, South Yarra, 21 Aug 1996-22 Aug 1996, 48. lot no. 139; 'Bailed up (Sketch)', signed 'Tom Roberts', dated Dec 1893, oil on panel, 16.5 x 26.5 cm, estimate: $160,000/180,000.

Richard Linden, Australia's best painters: Tom Roberts, Hugh Ramsay and Thea Proctor, Port Melbourne, 1997, 8, 28, 38.

Lionel lindsay, Tom Roberts exhibition, National Art Gallery of NSW: souvenir catalogue, 'Tom Roberts 1856-1931', pg. 1-3, Sydney, 1947, 3, 12. titled 'Bailed up !'; 21

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. 98

Lionel Lindsay, Jubilee exhibition of Australian art, 'The art of the Middle Period', pg. 13-15, Sydney, 1951, 12 (colour illus.), 14, 40. 111

Tony MacDougall (Editor), Australian Encyclopaedia Vol. 2, 'Australian Collection Focus Series', pg. 13, Sydney, 1996, 13 (colour illus.).

Tony MacDougall (Editor), Australian Encyclopaedia, 'Bushranging', Sydney, 1996, 617.

Marsali Mackinnon., The Australian, 'In search of Tom Roberts', Sydney, 17 Dec 1979, page unknown.

Patrick H McCarthy, Bailed up: the story behind the painting, Sydney, 2006, front cover (colour illus.), 13 (colour illus.), 114 (colour illus.), 164 (colour illus., detail), 167 (colour illus., detail), 169 (colour illus., detail), 171 (colour illus., detail), 172 (colour illus., detail), 173 (colour illus., detail), 174 (colour illus., detail), 175 (colour illus., detail).

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, Sydney, 1994, 617 (colour illus.).

John McDonald, Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, 'A race of heroes?', pg. 271-314, Sydney, 2008, 306-307 (colour illus.), 308, 582, 583.

Steve Meacham., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Shedding new light on a historical work of art', Sydney, 14 Mar 2009.

Margaret Meagher (Editor), State of the arts, 'AGNSW polishes the silver', pg. 12, Sydney, Aug 2000-Dec 2000, 12. Review of 'Australian Icons' exhibition.

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 62

William Moore, The story of Australian art from the earliest known art of the continent to the art of today (Vol. 1), 'National life', pg. 122-152, Sydney, 1934, (illus.).

Nan Musgrove, The Australian women's weekly, 'All this began at Two Bob a Night at Collingwood', pg. 43, 79., Sydney, 26 Apr 1972, 43, 79.

John Neylon, Jane Hylton and Tracey Lock-Weir, Tom Roberts: Education guide, Adelaide, 1996, (colour illus.).

Geraldine O'Brien, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Shear genius: festival goes for gold', pg. 11, Sydney, 13 Apr 1996, 11.

Olympic Civic Committee of Melbourne City Council, The arts festival of the Olympic Games, Melbourne: a guide to the exhibitions with introductory commentaries on the arts in Australia, Melbourne, 1956, 20, 102 (illus.), 145. 113

Belinda Oxley, Read-to-go Art Picture pack, Glebe, 2000, card no. 1 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Look, 'The ambassadors of art: Australian icons', pg. 24, Melbourne, Apr 2000, 24.

Barry Pearce and Haruo Arikawa, Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 93 (colour illus.). 48

Barry Pearce, Look, 'Australian Collection Focus', pg. 22, Heidelberg, Jul 1998, 22 (illus.).

Barry Pearce, Tom Roberts, 'Bailed up, 1895/1927', pg. 116-122, Adelaide, 1996, 10, 20, 36, 82, 90, 92, 116, 117 (colour illus.), 118, 119 (colour illus. detail). 120, 121 (colour illus. detail), 122, 148, 162, 178, 207 (illus. and catalogue entry), 208.

Barry Pearce, Australian Collection Focus: Tom Roberts Bailed Up 1895/1927, Sydney, 1998, cover (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Charles Conder 1868-1909, 'Between worlds: Conder in Australia', pg. 12-31, Sydney, 2003, 24.

Barry Pearce, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'Presenting our own artists: how the AGS put balance into the Australian collection', pg. 42-44, Sydney, May 2003, 44.

Laura Pia, Look, 'Seeing art takes more than looking: Audio description tours now at the Gallery', pg. 12-13, Sydney, Jul 2009, 13.

Maggie Pinkney (Editor), Classic Australian verse, Noble Park, 2001, front cover (colour illus.).

Tom Prior, A Pictorial History of Bushranger, Dee Why, 1968.

Michael Rosenthal, Art Monthly Australia (no.200), 'Impressions of Australia', pg. 21-27, Canberra, Jun 2007, 25. Review of 'Australian Impressionism' exhibition held at the National Gallery of Victoria [Ian Potter Centre].

Andrew Sayers, Australian art, Oxford, 2001, 88.

Sarah Scott, Seize the day: exhibitions, Australia and the world, 'A colonial legacy: Australian painting at the Tate Gallery, London, 1963', pg. 19.1-19.22., Clayton, 2008, 19.7.

Arnold Shore, Tom Roberts, Melbourne, 1964, 17 (illus.), 29.

Bernard William Smith, Place, taste and tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788, 'Impressionism in Australia', pg. 112-145, South Melbourne, 1979, 125, 126 (illus.). plate no. 43

Terry Smith, Transformations in Australian art: The nineteenth century - landscape, colony and nation [Volume One], 'The divided meaning of 'Shearing the Rams': artists and nationalism, 1888-1895', pg. 66-106, St Leonards, 2002, 84, 97, 99.

Society of Artists, Society of Artists First Exhibition 1895, Sydney, 1895, 8, 9 (illus.). titled 'Bailed Up'; 29; priced 275 guineas

Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, ‘‘Plein-airism and Impressionism: Roberts’ Landscape Paintings’, pg. 38-71, Melbourne, 1978, 70, 73, 82 (colour illus.), 92, 94-96, 99, 120, 126, 133, 148. plate no. 26

William Splatt and Dugald McLellan, Classic Australian Paintings, Victoria, 1986, cover (colour illus.), 32 (colour illus.).

William Splatt and Barbara Burton, 100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 76-77 (colour illus.). plate no. 35

Andrew Stevenson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Tom's people', pg. 3, Sydney, 09 Jan 2001, 3 (colour illus.). Summer Metropolitan section.

Lisa Sullivan, True crime: murder and misdemeanour in Australian art, 'True Crime: murder and misdemeanour in Australian art', pg. 5-35, Geelong, 2008, 6 (illus.), 9. plate no. IV

Frederick A. Sweet (Editor), Art of the United Nations, 'Australia: Tom Roberts, Bailed up', pg. 10, Chicago, 1944, 10 (illus.).

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'The great Australian nonchalance', pg. 13, Sydney, Sep 2014, 13 (colour illus.).

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, Heidelberg, Feb 1997, 9 (colour illus.).

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 14, Heidelberg, Apr 1997, 14-15 (colour illus.).

Celia Tait (Producer), Who do you think you are?, 'Michael Caton', Artarmon, 2013. episode no. 29, series 5

The National Trust of Australia (New South Wales), 'Bailed up' re-enactment. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, 'Bailed up', pg. 5-6, Inverell, 2001, 4 (illus.), 5-6, 7-12.

Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 472, 473 (illus.), 483.

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). plate no. 105 (includes a seperate detail of the carriage)

Helen Topliss, Seeing the first Australians, 'Tom Roberts' Aboriginal portraits', pg. 110-136, Sydney, 1985, 110, 123, 124 (illus.), 125-126. plate no. 8.14

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, ‘A Review of Tom Roberts’s Career and Development’, pg. 1-67, Melbourne, 1985, 19, 20, 137, 138. 234

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 136-138.

Clive Turnbull, Jean Campbell and Daniel Thomas AM, Australian painting: colonial, impressionist, contemporary, Adelaide, 1962. 49

Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Art of Australia 1788-1941, New York, 1941, 33, (illus.). 36

Robin Usher, Age, 'NGV basking in the glow of golden glory', pg. 7, Melbourne, 30 Mar 2007, 7, 7 (colour illus.).

Various, Calhist 121, St Leonards, 1997, CD ROM.

Vivienne Webb, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Golden age', pg. 37-38, Sydney, 2000, 38, 61, 62 (colour illus., detail), 63 (colour illus.), 302.

Judith White, Look, 'An artist's homage', pg. 18-20, Melbourne, Feb 2000, 19 (colour illus.), 20.

Elizabeth Young, Australian landscape 1802-1975, 'Impressionist', pg. 11-17, Adelaide, 1972.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Australian artist, 'Australian Icons at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 4-5, Chatswood, Aug 2000, 4 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), SOSE 3 - Studies of Society & Environment, 'Gold Rush Bushrangers', pg. 112-113, Milton, 1997, 113 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Bulletin with Newsweek, 'Marietta', pg. 88, Sydney, 10 Sep 1996, 88. Sale of oil sketch for 'Bailed up' at Joel's auction house in Melbourne.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Sale of Mr. Roberts’s paintings.’, pg. 5, Sydney, 14 Nov 1900, 5.

Australian collector's annual, 'Bric-a-brac', pg. 4, Sydney, 1991-1992, 4. Article about oil sketch for 'Bailed up' exhibited at Savill Galleries, Paddington in 1991.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Exhibition and sale of paintings by Tom Roberts, previous to his leaving Australia., Sydney, Nov 1900. 20; priced 70 guineas

Editor Unknown (Editor), Argus, ‘Victorian Artists’ Society. The Annual Exhibition’, pg. 6, Melbourne, 23 Oct 1896, 6.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 30 Apr 1917.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Victorian Gold Jubilee Exhibition: 1851-1901: art catalogue, Bendigo, May 1890. titled 'Bailed Up'; 52; not paginated

Editor Unknown (Editor), Calendar - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Jul 1998-Dec 1998, colour illus..

The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1962: Special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'Australian Paintings: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary', Adelaide, 1962. titled 'Bailed Up'; 49; not paginated

Editor Unknown (Editor), SOSE 3 - Studies of Society & Environment, 'Gold rush bushrangers', pg. 48-49, Milton, 2000, 49 (colour illus.). Source 2.8.3

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily Mirror, 'Artist gave life to spirit of Australian bush', pg. 24, Sydney, 20 Jul 1978, 24.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Parade, 'Tom Roberts: father of Australian landscape painting', pg. 25-27, Sydney, Apr 1973, 25, 26 (illus.), 27.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Tom Roberts. Exhibition at the Macquarie Galleries', pg. 8, Sydney, 28 Jun 1928, 8.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Art and Australia, 'Victorian favourites: a conversation - Elwyn Lynn and Lloyd Rees', pg. 49-56, Sydney, Spring 1984, 56 (illus.).