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Australian art

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Portrait of Florence

(circa 1898)


Tom Roberts

England, Australia

08 Mar 1856 - 14 Sep 1931


One of his finest, most sensitive portraits, Roberts' 'Portrait of Florence' was one of a number of paintings that were inspired by pretty women and a delight in the decorative fashions of the day. Florence Greaves was a painter and former pupil of Roberts, whose father W.A.B. Greaves owned Newbold Station (north of Grafton, New South Wales) where Roberts painted 'A mountain muster' 1897.

While highlighting Roberts’ ability to position and light his subjects to best advantage – a skill he had acquired during his time as a studio photographer – the delicate palette, particular attention to flesh colour and use of black, reveal influences from Whistler and Velásquez that Roberts had absorbed during his visit to England and the continent in 1882-1884.


Other Title

Florence Greaves

Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia


(circa 1898)

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas on paperboard


66.6 x 38.7 cm stretcher; 95.0 X 68.0 x 5.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Bequest of Florence Turner Blake 1959

Accession number


Artist information

Tom Roberts

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 17 publications


Robert Campbell, Paintings of Tom Roberts, Adelaide, 1962, 16, 17 (colour illus.). not paginated

Anne Gray, Tom Roberts, 'Catalogue of works', pg. 93-329, Canberra, 2015, 236, 237 (colour illus.), 350. 87

Inverell Art Gallery, Tom Roberts Art Exhibition. Tom Roberts Festival 2001, Inverell, 2001, 2. 3

Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 120 (colour illus.).

Patrick H McCarthy, Bailed up: the story behind the painting, Sydney, 2006, 14-15.

Alan McCulloch, The golden age of Australian painting - Impressionism and the Heidelberg school, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 150-167, Melbourne, 1969, 77, 78 (colour illus.). plate no. 38A

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 59

Hal Missingham (Director), Purchases and acquisitions for 1959, Sydney, 1959, 12-13, 40-41 (illus.). 22

Virginia Spate, Tom Roberts, Melbourne, 1978, 116 (illus.), 117, 149. 41

William Splatt and Barbara Burton, 100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 92-93 (colour illus.). plate no. 43

Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Tom Roberts', pg. 466-487, Sydney, Jul 1969, 476 (illus.), 477.

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 1 - Text, Melbourne, 1985, 153. titled 'Florence Greaves'; 292

Helen Topliss, Tom Roberts 1856-1931: a catalogue raisonné. Volume 2 - Plates, Melbourne, 1985, (colour illus.). titled 'Florence Greaves'; plate no. 131

Clive Turnbull, Jean Campbell and Daniel Thomas AM, Australian painting: colonial, impressionist, contemporary, Adelaide, 1962, 40. 48

Ronald Vickers., The Christian Science Monitor, 'Portrait of a lady', Boston, 22 Apr 1975, (illus.). Article featured in 'The Home Forum' section; page number unknown.

Peter Ward, The Australian Magazine, 'More or less than meets the eye', pg. 23-27, Sydney, 28 Sep 1996-29 Sep 1996, 25 (colour illus.).

The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1962: Special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary', Adelaide, 1962. 55; not paginated