This painting is from Nolan’s most famous body of work – his paintings illustrating the stories of Australian folk hero and outlaw Ned Kelly. Nolan’s stylised rendition of Kelly’s iconic metal armour became one of the best-known motifs in Australian art. The action in this painting comes from the Siege of Glenrowan in 1880, the final gun battle between the Kelly gang and police. Although Kelly escaped this battle, he returned to find out the fate of his companions, an act which led to his capture.
Sidney Nolan (1917 – 1992) was an Australian artist. Nolan worked in a variety of media, including paint, photography, print-making and stage design, and is best-known for his series of paintings based on the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. He travelled extensively throughout his lifetime, creating numerous works inspired by his own experiences, literature, and folklore. Having moved to London in 1951, he was knighted in 1981 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1983. Nolan was also made a Companion of the Order of Australia, elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a member of The Royal Academy of Arts.