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Portraits of Chief Justices and the first bench

  • Court 2
  • Jack Noel KILGOUR
  • (1900–87)
  • Sir Adrian Knox
  • 1973
  • oil on canvas
  • Copy of a portrait by Florence Rodway (1891-1971). On permanent loan to the High Court from the National Gallery of Australia.

The Rt Hon Sir Adrian Knox (1863–1932) served as the second Chief Justice of the High Court (1919–30). He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Cambridge and was called to the English Bar (Inner Temple) in 1886. He was later successful at the Sydney Bar, taking silk in 1906. He served as a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 1894–98. He was appointed a Companion to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) in 1918, a Privy Counsellor in 1920 and a Knight Commander (KCMG) in 1921. Chief Justice Knox has been described as 'an astute and conscientious administrator of the Court's business, and on the whole managed to steer the Court … to a remarkable degree of consensus'.

Former Chief Justices (further information)

About the artist

  • Jack Noel Kilgour was a Sydney based artist known for his cartoons and illustrations as well as for his modernist paintings, urban landscapes and portraits. His work is well represented in the Newcastle Region Art Gallery and other significant state and national collections. Kilgour is honoured by the biannual Kilgour Prize for excellence in figurative painting. The prize is funded by the Kilgour bequest which is administered through the Newcastle Region Art Gallery. He was married to fellow artist Nancy Kilgour (1904–54).

    The portrait of Sir Adrian Knox is a copy of an earlier portrait by Florence Aline Rodway (1891–1971), a Tasmanian artist who studied under Ethel Nicholls and Benjamin Sheppard in Hobart, and Julian Ashton in Sydney, and who was influenced by the English master painters Sargent, Bacon, Solomon, Leslie and Storey during her studies in London. Two of her many commissioned portraits were of Dame Nellie Melba and JF Archibald (founder of the Archibald Prize). Florence Rodway returned to settle in Hobart in about 1932. Portraits by her of Sir Adrian Knox are held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney and the Australian Jockey Club, Sydney. The Kilgour portrait is a copy of one of these.