An image of Aboriginal head - Charlie Turner

Tom Roberts

(England, Australia 08 Mar 1856 – 14 Sep 1931)

Aboriginal head - Charlie Turner

Other titles:
Aboriginal head (Charlie Turner), Head of an Aboriginal, Aboriginal Head
Not on display
Further information

Tom Roberts made portraits of Aboriginal people as part of his broader project to record for posterity subjects that he regarded as being characteristic of Australian life. His focus here on the subject's eyes was unusual among 19th-century depictions of Indigenous people for its poignant evocation of an inner life - at the time there was a widespread belief that Australia's Indigenous people were a dying race.

This portrait may have been painted from studies Roberts made of Aboriginal people during his stay at Corowa in the Riverina in 1890-91. However, it is also possible that Roberts produced it during his 1892 visit to Cooktown, North Queensland, where he also sketched various local Indigenous people.

oil on canvas on paperboard
39.4 x 29.8 cm board; 53.9 x 44.4 x 6.5 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., brown oil "Tom Roberts./ 1892".

Purchased 1892
Accession number