John Howard unveils a new addition to the Bradman Museum’s cricket greats gallery

The father of cricket William Gilbert (W. G.) Grace was honoured at the Bradman Museum this week.

THE BIG REVEAL: Bowral artist Dave Thomas and John Howard unveiled a painting of W. G. Grace at the Bradman Museum on Tuesday. Photos: Emily Bennett

THE BIG REVEAL: Bowral artist Dave Thomas and John Howard unveiled a painting of W. G. Grace at the Bradman Museum on Tuesday. Photos: Emily Bennett

An oil painting of the English cricketer was added to the museum’s The Greats of the Game gallery on Tuesday, January 2.

The work was painted by Bowral artist Dave Thomas, who has been commissioned by the Bradman Museum to produce oil paintings of cricket greats for the gallery.

The collection currently features about 20 portraits of international cricket players.

W. G. Grace was important in the development of the game, and was widely considered one of its greatest-ever players.

He played first-class cricket for 44 seasons from 1865 to 1908, and captained England, Gloucestershire, the Gentlemen, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and several other teams.

The artwork was unveiled by Bradman Foundation patron and director, and former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard.

This was in the presence of players from the Australian Parliamentary Cricket Club and the Lords and Commons Cricket Club from England, that played in the first Parliamentary Ashes game at Bradman Oval on January 2.

Bradman Foundation’s Rina Hore said the W. G. Grace portrait was a fitting addition to the gallery.

“W. G. Grace is considered to be the father of cricket,” Ms Hore said. “He instigated for an English team to come to Bowral.

“Lord Sheffield was on the team, and played Donald Bradman’s father at Loseby Park.”

Ms Hore said visitors showed a strong appreciation for the painting on the day. “The painting was so well-received,” she said.

“We had [MCC president] Lord Ian MacLaurin [present at the function], and he said he had not seen such an outstanding painting.”

Australian captain Michael McCormack, English captain Nigel Adams and Hume MP Angus Taylor also commented on the high quality of the work.

“We work very hard to make sure the museum honours the game of cricket, as well as Sir Donald Bradman,” Rina Hore said.

Ms Hore said the cricket greats collection served an important purpose at the Bradman Museum. “We have a program of developing art for the greats of the game,” she said. “We work very hard to make sure the museum honours the game of cricket, as well as Sir Donald Bradman. “It’s important for us to show how they have impacted the game, and to make sure we look at the performances of contemporary cricketers too.”