By the 1890s, Henry Lawson had established his reputation as a short story writer and poet with 'The drover’s wife' and 'Up the country'. His writing in The Bulletin helped create the image of the Australian bushman as the epitome of egalitarian and national ideals.

This portrait of Lawson was commissioned in 1900 by JF Archibald, editor of The Bulletin. It was painted in Melbourne shortly before Lawson’s departure for England. Working rapidly, Longstaff captured the poet’s characteristic expression. The finished portrait delighted Archibald and prompted him to establish the Archibald Prize, the non-acquisitive annual portraiture prize first awarded in 1921.


  • Title: Henry Lawson
  • Creator: John Longstaff
  • Date Created: 1900
  • Physical Dimensions: 91.5 x 72.0 cm stretcher; 110.0 x 89.7 x 6.5 cm frame
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1901
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Signed c.r. on shoulder, red oil "J Longstaff". Dated u.r., brown oil ".../ 1900".
  • Artist Country: Australia

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