Thomas William Roberts was an English-born Australian artist and a key member of the Heidelberg School art movement, also known as Australian impressionism.
After studying in Melbourne, he travelled to Europe in 1881 to further his training, and returned home in 1885, "primed with whatever was the latest in art". A leading proponent of painting en plein air, he joined Frederick McCubbin in founding the Box Hill artists' camp, the first of several plein air camps frequented by members of the Heidelberg School. He also encouraged other artists to capture the national life of Australia, and while he is best known today for his "national narratives"—among them Shearing the Rams, A break away! and Bailed Up —he earned a living as a portraitist, and in 1903 completed the commissioned work The Big Picture, the most famous visual representation of the first Australian Parliament.