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David Scott Mitchellc 1925

by Norman Carter

In 1925 the Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales commissioned Norman Carter to paint a portrait of David Scott Mitchell, from a photograph taken in the 1860s. Mitchell was notoriously shy when it came to having his portrait painted or being photographed. Very few likenesses were made during his lifetime. Mitchell bequeathed his significant collections of Australiana to what is now the State Library of NSW, and the Mitchell building was built primarily to house the collections, which was a stipulation of the bequest.

Carter was born in Melbourne, but moved to Sydney in 1903, where he set up a city studio and joined the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. He was considered a skilled but conventional portraitist, painting fellow-artists, governors, judges, professors, and other notables, including David Scott Mitchell.