There are three hundred portraits included in PORTRAITS by W. H.Chong , which is divided into five sections, including a forward by John Wolseley , comments on some of the portraits by Sophie Cunningham , an afterward by Michelle de Kretser , an author’s note by W.H.Chong , a fridge list and acknowledgements and dedication. It is of small to medium size and thickness.

W. H. Chong has designed books for Text Publishing since its inception Intense, vibrant and eye catching, assorted local legends and national icons – writers, artists ,musicians and creators all driven by their vocation are vividly depicted , assembled from W.H. Chong’s sketchbooks over the past ten years.

W.H.Chong also includes digital art , prints and  paintings. Most of the portraits are in black and white, some in colour, some include both, all of them striking and dynamic, leaping off the page, catching the dynamic essence of the sitter. Some could be described as  quite abstract or sculptural.

The luminaries depicted include Judith Brett, Jack Charles , Michelle de Kretser, Helen Garner,  Kate Grenville, Elizabeth Harrower, Brother Patrick Hennigan Paul Kelly, Benjamin Law ,Gareth Liddiard, David Malouf, Gerald Murnane, Les Murray , Gareth Samson, Jan Senbergs , Heather B Swann, Noel Tovey ,Angus Trumble and Clare Wright, among others .Many are shown in profile while others stare directly at the viewer.

John Wolseley reminds us that W.H.Chong is based in Melbourne and describes how W.H.Chong is always sketching, seeking to understand life and the human form. Wolseley mentions a couple of quotes by Giacometti and how a particular angle or twist can make a difference.

The remarks by Sophie Cunningham give insight into the various sitters.

Michelle de Kretser writes about having her portrait done and portraits of Patrick White. What she notices is how a portrait is always an encounter with time  ‘and how she has changed, gotten older … This is followed by an inspirational ‘Fridge List’ (eg ‘More drawing , less jawing ‘ … or ‘Paint like the ancients ‘) and, finally , acknowledgements and dedication.

A striking , vibrant book






Text publication date:

30 May 2023



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Non Fiction