Roberts' portraits the 'selfies' of their day


With her huge blue eyes, plump rose-kissed cheeks and a tumble of golden curls spilling over her fashionable fox-fur trimmed coat, Lily Stirling is the perfect face of a beautiful new nation.

Born in Melbourne's Lonsdale Street, Lily was about six years old when her father, a physician friend of prominent Australian artist Tom Roberts, commissioned her portrait in 1890. Roberts wrote cheeky ditties of painting children, "… I've painted kids in every pose, A'kissing their mammie or smelling a rose …"

Many of Roberts' finest portraits are showcased at the blockbuster Tom Roberts exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, on until March 28 in Canberra.

To read more about artist Tom Roberts' portraits, click here.  

This feature by Belinda Jackson was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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