Collection Online
Green-robed senators
oil on canvas
65.8 × 39.5 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Alfred Felton, 1904
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

With Arthur Tooth & Sons (dealer), London, before 1897; collection of W. R. Wilson Esq. (d. 1900), Geelong and Melbourne, by 1897 until 1900; by whom lent to the NGV, 1897-98[1]; probably sold, Wilson estate sale, Neil Campbell (auctioneer), St Alban’s, Melbourne, 7 February 1901[2]; from where probably purchased by, or on behalf of, Alfred Felton (1831–1904), 1901; his collection, Melbourne, until 1904; by whom bequeathed to the NGV, 1904.

[1] Loaned by Wilson to the NGV for the duration of his on holiday to Europe. See ‘Art notes’ in the Leader, Melbourne, Saturday 11 December 1897, p. 5, Accessed:, and also ‘Notes and notices’, in The Australasian, Melbourne, 4 December 1897, p. 35, Accessed:

[2] The W. R. Wilson estate sale was reported in the newspapers, with mention of a catalogue, however no copy has been found. See ‘Town Talk’ in Geelong Advertiser, Geelong, Thursday 7 February 1901, p. 2, Accessed: and ‘Town Talk’ in Geelong Advertiser, Geelong, Friday 8 February 1901, p. 2, Accessed:

Artists of the Victorian era were particularly sensitive to the spiritual power of the landscape. As such they were in synch with the Romantic poets who were inspired likewise to capture similar sentiments in prose. Occasionally artists borrowed directly from poets to provide a lyrical context for their paintings. Halswelle clearly knew Keats’ epic poem Hyperion

Those green-robed senators of mighty woods,
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir.

John Keats, Hyperion 1818–19


This is more than likely the frame in which this painting was acquired in 1904 and contemporary with the painting.
A classical revival frame with empire style decorative work cast in composition and set into the scotia, the frame has a reeded leading edge.
The three paintings by Keeley Halswelle in the collection retain their original frames in good condition.
Each one makes use of a reeded section and they all reflect a restrained classical revival form.
One (The heart of the Coolins) carries the label of W. A. Smith and it is possible all three are by this frame maker.

Unknown - 19th century

timber, composition, gold leaf