Cover image of the review
Unknown artist, *King Edward VI*, after William Scrots, c. 1546, © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits

23 Mar 2019
Bendigo Art Gallery 16 Mar - 14 Jul 2019

I often return to an odd little sentence in Robert Walser's microscripts, a thought captured that he then jotted down on a scrap of paper sometime before 1956: 'The failure to prize the chance to spend time in a cosmopolitan city highly enough to refrain from giving it up in favour of an upstart one-horse town.' Cosmopolitanism, seen today, is increasingly a crowded nightmare pre-occupied with advertising space and competitive visibility. The provinces are no longer the extremities, rather they provide lines of flight from the hellscape of the contemporary world for those privileged enough to take the time.

The idea, almost a fragment, recorded by Walser, a Swiss writer who worked as a butler and inventor's assistant, reflects an indulgence in failure—the failure of modernity itself, perhaps—and can easily be expanded to provide an image of antipodean Australia as an English colony. What a pleasure it is then, to get out of the city, and to get to Bendigo and one of the oldest art galleries 'down under'. Established in 1887, Bendigo Art Gallery fits neatly within the Victorian surrounds of the gold rush-era town at the heart of the state that is named for the 19th-century monarch.

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