Dorchester, England 1856 – Kallista, Victoria, Australia 1931

print after

  • Australia from 1869
  • England, Europe 1881- 85, 1903-23


France commenced 1829 – 1990

engraver (organisation)

Opening of the first Parliament of the Australian Commonwealth, 9th May 1901 - with remarque of Edward VII. c.1903 Place made: Paris, Île-de-France, Ville de Paris department, France
Materials & Technique: prints, photogravure, printed in black ink, from one copper plate Support: thin smooth off-white wove paper
Edition State: published state
Impression: 322

Primary Insc: signed lower left within plate-mark in black pencil, 'Tom Roberts'. inscribed lower left below image in black pencil, 'no.322,'.
Dimensions: plate-mark 52.9 h x 90.0 w cm sheet 64.8 h x 96.9 w cm backing sheet 80.2 h x 114.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the second Lord Tennyson 1960
Accession No: NGA 60.14
  • Gift to the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board (C.A.A.B.), from The second Lord Tennyson (1852-1928), accepted April 1960.
  • Tom Roberts wrote about the Federation ceremony to his son:

    'When the great day came your mother and I went to the hall of the Exhibition Building, and without getting seats, walked quietly at the very back, and climbing up some rails, I was able to see that immense gathering of people from Australia, and from so many parts of the world. It was very solemn and great. The heads on the floor looked like a landscape.’

    This memory, together with official photographs and almost 300 portrait studies enabled Roberts to paint the ‘big picture’ of the opening ceremony.

    This is the signed photogravure made in 1903 of the painting now in Parliament House. As such it marked the welcome end of two years of intense and exhausting work. 'Off the chain', wrote Tom Roberts with relief.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra