Sidney NOLAN, The encounter Enlarge 1 /1

On display on Level 1

Sidney NOLAN

Carlton, Victoria, Australia 1917 – London, England 1992

  • England and Australia from 1950

The encounter 1946
Collection Title: Ned Kelly Series
Title Notes: 12
Materials & Technique: paintings, enamel paint on composition board

Primary Insc: not signed, dated reverse top c., chalk "Sept 1946"
Dimensions: 90.4 h x 121.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of Sunday Reed 1977
Accession No: NGA 76.289

Should a constable encounter one of these outlaws, he should apprehend him with the maximum efficiency and devotion to duty. Historical record

Many of the policemen did not want to encounter the Kellys. Kelly was a wrathful myth in his own day and the frightened policeman got out of the way in the corner of the painting and gave Kelly centre stage. Sidney Nolan

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Judge Barry then passed sentence of death, and concluded with the usual formula: 'May the Lord have mercy on your soul.' Ned Kelly: 'Yes, I will meet you there!'

The tiled floor in red and white was in a house I was in once. The courthouse was in South Melbourne and through the left-hand window you can see sailing ships of the time. The candelabra is true to life. The judge wears the black cloth of death and below is a sergeant with a rolled, sealed document that spells doom for Kelly. Of course, it could not have then been ready. Kelly told Judge Barry that he would soon see him in the next world, which is not a very polite thing to say to a man who's just sentenced you to death. Strangely enough, Mr Justice Barry, a great man, who did many good deeds, went home to bed and died a fortnight later, from, it is said, a septic carbuncle.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra