The S.H. Ervin Gallery is one of Sydney ’s leading public art institutions, housed in the historic National Trust Centre on Observatory Hill, The Rocks in Sydney. The gallery’s exhibition program is designed to explore the richness and diversity of Australian art, both historical and contemporary, and present it in new contexts. The gallery is renowned for encouraging research and promoting scholarly appraisal of artists from all periods of Australian art history. In addition, the S.H. Ervin Gallery presents exhibitions and programs that recognise the valuable contribution made by Australian women artists.
The gallery’s collection was established through the bequest of benefactor Samuel Henry Ervin, collector and patron.
The majority of the artists represented in the collection are Australian, and primarily representative of the period from the mid-19th up until the late 20th century. In addition to the S.H. Ervin Bequest, the gallery’s collection is made up of the Alan Renshaw Bequest, the Mavis E. Cope Bequest and a number of other gifts and acquisitions.
The gallery’s holding includes watercolours by Conrad Martens and an extensive collection of prints by modernist women artists including Jessie Mackintosh, Ailsa Lee Brown, Thea Proctor, Eileen Mayo, Ethel Spowers, Vera Blackburn, Adelaide Perry and Ethleen Palmer. The collection also comprises the personal libraries of S.H. Ervin and Alan Renshaw.
The gallery is part of the National Trust, an Australian conservation organisation that cares for the built, cultural and natural heritage of Australia through advocacy, conservation and educational programs.
As a community-based charity, independent of government and corporate entities, the Trust is one of Australia’s strongest voices for the protection of heritage of all kinds.
The Portia Geach Memorial Award is Australia’s most prestigious art prize for portraiture by women artists and was established by the will of the late Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, Portia Geach. The $30,000 non-acquisitive Award is annually presented to an Australian female artist for the best portrait painted from life of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters or the sciences.
The Evelyn Chapman Art Award is a $50,000 scholarship presented to an Australian painter, male or female, aged 45 years or younger. The award, given every two years through the bequest of the late Pamela Thalben-Ball, is intended to support a young Australian painter by furthering their art education.