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In Love & Friendship

4 June 2020

In Love & Friendship

In Love & Friendship
Caption on bottom


A tiny oil sketch of Jean Sandro Russell, painted by?his father, holds a surprising place in Australian art history. It contains important evidence of the experimental colour theory of ‘Australia’s lost impressionist’ — the wealthy expatriate artist?John Peter Russell. 

How did the portrait come to be at the Library? And how does this little-known work relate to Russell’s artistic practice, as recorded in letters to his friend Tom Roberts, also part of the Library’s collections. 

Margot Riley is a curator in the Research & Discovery Branch of the State Library of NSW. A cultural historian with special interests in art, popular culture, photography and dress. She has since written and lectured extensively about the Library's collection and curated numerous exhibitions and displays.