Robert Hannaford

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Hannaford painting a landscape near Adelaide in 2011
1998: Sir Donald Bradman in the Creswell Gardens
2012: Simpson and his donkey in the Angas Gardens
2013: ATSI War Memorial at Torrens Parade Ground

Robert Lyall "Alfie" Hannaford AM, (born 9 November 1944) is an Australian realist artist notable for his drawings, paintings, portraits and sculptures. He is a great-great-great-grandson of Susannah Hannaford.[1][2]


Hannaford was born and grew up on his family's farm in the Gilbert Valley near Riverton, South Australia, attending Riverton Primary and High Schools. Born to Claude and Vera (née Hoare), he has two elder brothers (Ian and Donald) and a younger sister (Kay).[1][3][4]

In 1960, aged 16, he moved to Adelaide to complete his schooling at Prince Alfred College. He met Kate Gilfillan in 1964. In 1967–68 he studied in Ballarat, marrying Kate in 1968. They moved to Melbourne in 1969 living there for four years, where their two children Tom and Georgina were born.[3] They divorced in 1976.

He returned to South Australia in 1974 living in Riverton, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, and from 1981–87, West Hindmarsh. In 1984 his daughter Aisha was born and in 1987 his daughter Tsering was born.

Hannaford bought a disused farmhouse and outbuildings at Peters Hill near Riverton and commenced converting them into a dwelling and studio, where he now lives with his wife, artist Alison Mitchell. They were married in 2007 and own and operate Riverton Light Gallery. [1] and have exhibited in collaborative exhibitions.

In 2006 Hannaford was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.

On 1 January 2001 Hannaford (of West Hindmarsh) was awarded the Centenary Medal "For service to the community through art".[5] On 9 June 2014 Hannaford (of Riverton) was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "For significant service to the visual arts as a painter and sculptor".[6] Also in 2014 he received the Premier's Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Ruby Awards.[3][7]

Hannaford's youngest daughter, Tsering,[8] is also a notable South Australian artist. Like her father, she specializes in portraiture, landscapes and still life, and has been a finalist for the Archibald prize. She became a full-time artist in 2013.[9]


Although self-taught, Hannaford has benefited from the mentoring of South Australian artists Hans Heysen and Ivor Hele.[3] He worked as political cartoonist for the Adelaide Advertiser from 1964 to 1967 (between Pat Oliphant and Michael Atchison), before becoming a full-time artist in 1970.[4]

Primarily known as a portrait artist, depicting the likes of Dame Joan Sutherland, Donald Bradman, Paul Keating, and Bob Hawke, he is also known for his landscapes, still lifes, nudes, and sculptures. He has commented on his portraiture that: "Portraiture is an exploration of character that goes beyond photography. It is an ongoing thing over a long period of time. You get elements of various emotions that can be sensed in the painting."

Hannaford first entered the Archibald Prize in 1991 with a portrait of Hugh Stretton. The portrait was shortlisted, and won the 1991/1992 People's Choice Award. To 2018, 26 of his entries have been finalists in 21 of the competitions, and he has been a three-time winner of the People's Choice Award – in 1992, 1996 and 1998.[3]

"Black Chicks Talking" Project[edit]

"Black Chicks Talking" was a project conceived by the actor Leah Purcell and her partner Bain Stewart, and developed by their production company Bungabura Productions. At the invitation of Stewart, in the period 1999 to 2002 Hannaford painted 10 portraits of noted Australian indigenous women to support the project which had been presented to Hannaford as an initiative to raise funds for a mentoring scheme for young Indigenous people.[2] In order to keep the portraits together as a group, they were donated to the Tweed River Gallery.[10]

The ten subjects of the portraits are:[10]


Other portraits on public display[edit]

  • 1978 - Sir Thomas Playford, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Adelaide
  • 1978 - Alexander Maurice Ramsay, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
  • 1985 - Gavin Walkley, St Mark's College, North Adelaide
  • 1987 - Tom (Hannaford), Tweed River Art Gallery (Image)[13]
  • 2001 - Jack Mundey, Sydney Living Museums (Image)[13]
  • 2004 - Stephen Codrington, Prince Alfred College, Adelaide[14]
  • 2006 - Lowitja O'Donoghue, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (Image)[13]
  • 2007 - John Bannon, St Mark's College, North Adelaide
  • Vice-Chancellors of the University of Adelaide, Mitchell Building, Adelaide

Recognition, Honours and Awards[edit]

Archibald Prize Finalist[edit]

Archibald Salon des Refusés[edit]


  1. ^ a b "OH 812 - Full transcript of an interview with Robert Hannaford by Rob Linn" (PDF). Eminent Australians Oral History Project - JD Somerville Oral History Collection. State Library of South Australia. 14 March 2007. p. 53. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Kim Arlington (8 February 2011). "Portrait of the artist as a wrung man". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e John Neylon, "Chronology". pp154-160 in Sally Foster (2016) "Robert Hannaford", Art Gallery of South Australia, ISBN 978-1-921668-27-2
  4. ^ a b "Biography". Artist profile. RL Hannaford. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, It's an Honour
  6. ^ a b Member of the Order of Australia, 9 June 2014, It's an Honour
  7. ^ a b c Patrick McDonald (5 December 2014). "Painter, sculptor Robert Hannaford receives Ruby Awards for lifetime in oils and bronze". The Advertiser. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  8. ^ Tsering Hannaford,
  9. ^ Llewellyn, Jane. "Profile: Tsering Hannaford". The Adelaide Review. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b Black chicks,
  11. ^ Early portraits,
  12. ^ "Roy Rene at home in Hindley Street". Postcards South Australia. 18 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Portraits,
  14. ^ "Stephen Codrington". Portrait. Stephen Codrington – The Website. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  15. ^ Three generations of commitment to Education, Lumen,
  16. ^ Winner: People's Choice 1991/92, Art Gallery of NSW
  17. ^ a b Archibald Finalists for 1993, Art Gallery of NSW
  18. ^ a b Archibald Finalists for 1994, Art Gallery of NSW
  19. ^ a b Archibald Finalists for 1995, Art Gallery of NSW
  20. ^ a b Archibald Finalists for 1996, Art Gallery of NSW
  21. ^ Winner: People's Choice 1996, Art Gallery of NSW
  22. ^ Archibald Finalists for 1997, Art Gallery of NSW
  23. ^ Archibald Finalists for 1998, Art Gallery of NSW
  24. ^ Winner: People's Choice 1998, Art Gallery of NSW
  25. ^ Archibald Finalists for 1999, Art Gallery of NSW
  26. ^ Archibald Finalists for 2001, Art Gallery of NSW
  27. ^ Archibald Finalists for 2002, Art Gallery of NSW
  28. ^ Rabbi Apple, 2003 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  29. ^ Sef-portrait, 2004 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  30. ^ Bob Brown, 2005 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  31. ^ Tim Flannery, 2006 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  32. ^ Tubes, 2007 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  33. ^ Alison Mitchell, 2008 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  34. ^ Self-portrait, 2009 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  35. ^ Malcolm Fraser, 2010 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  36. ^ Self-portrait, 2015 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  37. ^ Michael Chaney, 2017 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  38. ^ Self-portrait, 2018 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
  39. ^ Salon des refuses at SH Ervin, 10 May 2011,
  40. ^ a b Archibald art runs in the family, 6 April 2012,
  41. ^ Andrew Taylor (12 July 2014). "Archibald rejects find new home". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  42. ^ Exhibition of Rejects features Archibald Prize 'best of the rest' entries, 15 July 2014, Includes an image of the portrait.
  43. ^ John McDonald (6 August 2016). "Stars of the Salon des Refuses". The Sydney Morning Herald.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Archibald Prize People's Choice Award
portrait of Hugh Stretton
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Archibald Prize People's Choice Award
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Archibald Prize People's Choice Award
portrait of academic Rolf Prince
Succeeded by