The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 12 March – 15 June 2004
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 9 July – 12 September 2004

Press Release
10 March 2004

The National Gallery of Australia will launch its major exhibition The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

MEDIA LAUNCH: 12 noon Thursday 11 March 2004.

We gratefully acknowledge the Australian Government for the ongoing commitment to cover major exhibitions through Art Indemnity Australia, the generous support of our principal sponsor EMC², media sponsors Channel 9 and WIN Television, and Saville Park Suites.

The Edwardians consists of 140 paintings, sculptures, costumes and designs from national and international collections. It includes images of well-known figures such as Percy Grainger, Dame Nellie Melba, Virginia Woolf and Peter Pan. The exhibition features works by much-loved artists including James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Rupert Bunny, E Philips Fox, Gwen John, Tom Roberts and Walter Sickert.

The Edwardian era was a period of dramatic social change. A glamorous aristocratic hierarchy was underscored by a darker underbelly of society. Artists of the time dramatised their subjects to unearth the colourful layers of life in Edwardian times, portrayed through a broad range of artistic styles and approaches to their subject matter.

‘The exhibition contains many sumptuous images which are a sheer joy to look at, but they also tell a story about social reform and changes in artistic exploration. This exhibition has given me great pleasure and I know it will continue to give much enjoyment to those who see it’, said exhibition curator, Dr Anna Gray, Assistant Director, Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia.

A major catalogue, accompanying the exhibition, will feature essays by leading Australian and International scholars, many of whom will be contributing to the Edwardians Symposium at the Gallery, 12–13 March 2004. To coincide with the opening of The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires, the National Gallery of Australia will also launch the cookbook Elegant sufficiency: A taste of Edwardian times.

For further information, please contact Jenny Blake on +61 2 62406700, Alix Fiveash on +61 2 62406431 or

Visit The Edwardians website