The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Polly Borland: Australians

Kylie Minogue
by Polly Borland
October 1999
NPG x88447

Past exhibition archive
25 May - 17 September 2000

Photography Gallery

Admission Free

Sponsored by
Robert Walters, the global recruitment consultancy

Also funded by
Arts & Business logo


With additional support from
Tapestry and Agfa   


Polly Borland: Australians , is an exhibition of 54 new portraits of significant Australians who have made a contribution to British life and who have largely made their home or based their professional life in the UK. Born in Melbourne in 1959, Borland has lived in the UK for eight years and established an international reputation for both her portraiture and off-beat reportage, with work appearing regularly in the national and international press. Polly Borland: Australians, has been jointly organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

The portraits in the exhibition reflect the many fields in which Australians have excelled, including art, business, literature, science, music, media, architecture and fashion. The subjects include the singer Kylie Minogue, Leanne Benjamin, Principal Ballerina, The Royal Ballet Company, Sir Robert May, Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, musician Nick Cave, actress Cate Blanchett, author Germaine Greer and comedian Barry Humphries. They represent a cross section of diverse, established and emerging talents, and reflect that particular streak of radicalism which has helped establish Australia on the world map, as a nation of can-doers, daredevil entrepreneurs, successful artists and competitive sportsmen and women.

Borland says of her work, "I'm fascinated by people - I love meeting them, I love photographing them, I love finding out about them. The best portraiture is when you get beneath the skin of someone, it's psychologically revealing. You penetrate below the surface."

Polly Borland won the 1994 John Kobal Photography Portrait Award and is married to the Australian film-maker John Hillcoat (Ghosts of the Civil Dead and To Have and To Hold). A selection of her photographs from a forthcoming photographic book on Adult Babies or Infantilists, was exhibited as part of last summer's South Bank's Meltdown Festival, of which Nick Cave was artistic director.

Cate Blanchett
by Polly Borland
November 1999
NPG x88445

Nick Cave
by Polly Borland
October 1999
NPG x88459

Yvonne Denise Kenny
by Polly Borland
August 1999
NPG x88443


Natalie Imbruglia
by Polly Borland
November 1999
NPG x88446

Elle Macpherson
by Polly Borland
February 2000
NPG x88461

Leo McKern
by Polly Borland
September 1999
NPG x88474


Polly Borland: Australians was published in May, by the National Portrait Gallery, priced £15.


Become a Member

Enjoy access to special events, discounts on the Gallery online shop, supporters’ updates and much more

Join today

Get social

Bringing people together by sharing the portraits and stories of the men and women who have shaped our nation.

Facebook Instagram Twitter


Sign up to receive information on exhibitions, collections and activities of the National Portrait Gallery, including special offers, shop products, and exclusive competitions.

Sign up