"The Demon Bowler" Frederick Robert Spofforth (image plate from Vanity Fair)

Leslie Ward1878

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
Canberra, Australia

Frederick Robert Spofforth (1853–1926), cricketer, was a member of the Australian cricket team whose defeat of England at The Oval in 1882 brought about ‘The Ashes’ Test series. Born in Balmain, Spofforth started playing club cricket in 1871, was first selected for NSW in 1874, and made his Test debut in 1877. He earned the moniker ‘The Demon’ in 1878 when, as a member of the touring Australian side, he took ten wickets for 20 runs in a match against the Marylebone Cricket Club. Selected for Australia again in 1880 and every year from 1882 to 1887, Spofforth played eighteen Test matches in all, finishing his career with 94 Test wickets at an average of 18.41. He is considered Australia’s first fast bowler, and is also credited with having taken the first ever Test bowling hat-trick (against England in Melbourne in 1879). After retiring from international cricket, he became a bank manager, married, and lived in England, where he contributed occasionally to cricket books and developed an interest in botany and horticulture.


  • Title: "The Demon Bowler" Frederick Robert Spofforth (image plate from Vanity Fair)
  • Creator: Sir Leslie Ward
  • Date Created: 1878
  • Physical Dimensions: sheet: 39.0 x 26.0 cm
  • Provenance: Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Purchased 2015
  • Rights: https://www.portrait.gov.au/form-image-request.php
  • External Link: https://www.portrait.gov.au/portraits/2015.5
  • Medium: Chromolithograph

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps