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Australian art

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Self portrait



Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


Tom Roberts (1856–1931) is best known for such large-scale paintings depicting Australia's pastoral life and labour as 'The golden fleece' and 'Bailed up'. Born in England, he migrated to Australia in 1868, working initially as a photographer. A leading figure with Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder and others in setting up outdoor painting camps on the outskirts of Melbourne, he was the key proponent of the Heidelberg school of Australian impressionism. Moving to Sydney in 1891, Roberts also travelled to regional New South Wales to paint a series of 'national' pastoral subjects. After a difficult period in Europe 1901–23, he returned to Australia, settling in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges.


Other Title


Place where the work was made

Kallista Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


61.2 x 51.0 cm stretcher; 81.0 x 71.0 x 7.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, red oil "Tom Roberts 24./ To the Trustees Sydney National Gallery".


Gift of the artist at the request of the Trustees 1924


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 26 publications


Anthony Horden & Son's (Compilator), Exhibition of oil paintings by Tom Roberts, Sydney, Jun 1926, cover (illus.). The work was featured on the cover of the catalogue for Anthony Horden & Sons Ltd. 'Exhibition of oil paintings by Tom Roberts'.

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Ursula Prunster, Face to face: Australian portraits, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). 23

Louise Chamberlin, Art In Sight, Sydney, 1996, 141, 144, 145, 149, 151, 155, 171.

Robert Croll (Editor), Smike to bulldog: letters from Sir Arthur Streeton to Tom Roberts, Sydney, 1946, 45 (illus.).

Anne Grey, Tom Roberts, 'Tom Roberts: La vita con brio', pg. 11-30, Canberra, 2015, 26, 27, 94 (colour illus.), 95, 350. 1

Janet Hawley, Good Weekend, 'Tom Roberts Bailed Up', pg. 32-39, Sydney, 24 Feb 1996, 38 (colour illus.).

Ann Hodgens, The people in the paintings: a research report for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Inverell, 2006, front cover (illus.).

Ann Hodgens (Editor), Tom Roberts Festival 2006: Heritage tour, Inverell, 2006, front cover (illus.).

Inverell Art Gallery, Tom Roberts Art Exhibition. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, front cover (illus.), 3. 7

Patrick H McCarthy, Bailed up: the story behind the painting, ‘Introduction’, pg. 9-14, Sydney, 2006, 14-15, 132 (colour illus.), 176.

Humphrey McQueen, Tom Roberts, Sydney, 1996, 640.

Hal Missingham, Artists by artists, Sydney, 1954, 10. 61; black and white illustration featured on an un-paginated page.

Timothy Morrell, Art Monthly Australia, 'To look within: Self portraits in Australia at the University of Queensland Art Museum', pg. 26-28, Canberra, Jul 2004, 27.

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

Ron Radford, Humphrey McQueen, Mary Eagle, Virginia Spate, Daniel Thomas AM, Jane Hylton, Barry Pearce, Leigh Astbury, Helen Topliss, Roger Arthur Butler and Jane Hylton, Tom Roberts, Adelaide, 1996, 1 (colour illus.), 4, 214 (illus.).

Andrew Sayers, To look within: self portraits in Australia, 'The artist's self-portrait in Australia', pg. 6-33, Brisbane, 2004, 18, 21 (colour illus.).

Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, Melbourne, 1978, 14 (illus.), 127, 149. 1

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

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

The National Trust of Australia (New South Wales), 'Bailed up' re-enactment. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, front cover (illus.).

Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 484 (illus.), 485.

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (illus.). plate no. 228

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 209. 595

Richard Travers, To paint a war: The lives of the Australian artists who painted the Great War, 1914-1918, Port Melbourne, 2017, 3 (colour illus.).

Peter Ward, The Australian Magazine, 'More or less than meets the eye', pg. 22-27, Sydney, 28 Sep 1996-29 Sep 1996, contents (colour illus., detail), 23 (colour illus.).

A memorial exhibition of paintings by the late Tom Roberts (1932), Melbourne, 1932. 5