Collection Online
oil on canvas
64.0 × 141.1 cm
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
inscribed (diagonally) in brown paint l.r.: B. Hall
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1919
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
The English painter Lindsay Bernard Hall arrived in Melbourne in 1892 to take up the position of Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, a post he held for over 40 years. An experienced artist, his work was often selected for the RA exhibition in the years before his arrival. Hall was also head of the Gallery School and he was a strict disciplinarian who emphasised drawing skills and academic painting practices. The nude remained an important theme throughout nineteenth and twentieth century painting, often deployed to represent a sacred or divine being. In Sleep, Hall combines this tradition with his interest in Symbolism, to present a meditation on the experience of death.


Original, by John Thallon, Melbourne

The maker is identified by a stencil directly onto the wood on the reverse of the frame, centre bottom, an unusual means of identification by Thallon. The painting appears in this frame in a photograph of the Loan Exhibition of Australian Art at the National Art Gallery of New South Wales (later the Art Gallery of New South Wales), Sydney, April 1918. A frame with the same profile but smaller sight dimensions appears in Thallon’s ledger in an entry for B. Hall, 28 November 1902. The basic form of this frame appears on a number of paintings in the collection over a period from 1896 to 1906, with slight variations in dimensions, treatment of the sight edge and veneering of the frieze. See also the entry for J. C. Waite’s Alfred Felton, 1905 (245–2), also framed by Thallon in this style.


The original sketch for Sleep, c.1906 is in the collection of the Castlemaine Art Gallery.  It is framed with dark stained pine in the manner of frames noted in Thallon's ledger under entries for Hall.  The two horizontal members are approximately half the width of the two verticals.

John Thallon
122 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

The frame is built up from a flat section of softwood. The working edge is established by the addition of a rectangular batten. The rebate is established by another rectangular section that is lapped at the reverse. It appears the veneer was put in place after the frame was built up, though this is a difficult method of construction. The fluted outer section is machined from dowel and nailed through the centre into the base. The whole surface is gilded with false gold, except for the bevel to the sight edge, which is gilded with gold leaf. The surface coating has discoloured to orange, suggesting shellac-based ormolu size. Stencilled letters on the reverse of the lower member suggest the timber has been recycled.


The frame is in good original condition with a discoloured surface coating, spotting and staining and some minor losses.

98.0 x 174.0 x 8.5 cm; sight 63.0 x 139.0 cm