Richard Neville

Mitchell Librarian and Director, Engagement

Richard Neville with Sarah Cobcroft

BA(hons), MA(Hons)


Richard Neville is the Mitchell Librarian and Director, Engagement at the State Library of NSW. With a research background in nineteenth century Australian art and culture, he curated numerous exhibitions and published widely on colonial art and society. He has also been extensively involved in the acquisition, arrangement, description and promotion of the Library’s renowned Australian research collections.

What inspired you to take this role?

I was first introduced to the Library’s collections in the early 1980s. I was immediately hooked by their depth, breadth and mystery. There seemed so much potency in them: in what was known about them, and what wasn’t. The potential of them to tell stories, to understand our past, and to look into our future, is still as compelling and exciting today as it was 30 years ago. The digital age, too, brings a whole new raft of opportunities and challenges: libraries have never been more exciting!

Photo: Richard Neville celebrates 86-year-old Sarah Cobcroft, whose portrait was painted in 1856 by convict artist Joseph Backler. The Library’s portrait collections range from governors to unknown Australians like Sarah.