Thomas Bock (1790 – 1855)
Portrait of Mr T. D. Chapman (1815 – 1884)
Crayon and Chinese white on paper
32 x 26.5 cm (sight)

‘Thomas Bock: Convict Engraver Society Portraitist’, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, 1991, cat. no. 79

Much of the early art of the colony was created by convicts who have left legacies far beyond their low standing. Among the earliest of these artists was Thomas Bock (1790 – 1855), who was transported to Hobart Town in 1824. After his pardon, he established himself as a portraitist, producing images of many of the colonial elite. 

Thomas Bock (1790 – 1855)
‘R V Hood’ c. 1839
Pencil watercolour and Chinese white on paper
25.5 x 20.4 cm
Signed lower right


William Buelow Gould (1803-1853)
“Flowers Beside an Arched Window”
Oil on canvas
50 x 68.8 cm
Signed lower right

William Buelow Gould (1803 – 1853) is recognised as the first resident still life artist to arrive in the Australian colonies. Gould was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1827, where he applied his skills reputedly learnt as a porcelain painter in the Spode factory to create naïve yet exquisite still life arrangements of dead game, fruit and flowers, for which he is best known today. Alongside these works, he also painted maritime scenes, portraits, landscapes, botanical and zoological subjects. A drunkard and frequent reoffender, Gould served time at both Macquarie Harbour and Port Arthur, however received his certificate of freedom in 1835. He died in poverty in 1853.

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Frederick Strange (c. 1807 – 1873)
(Mount Wellington and St. John’s from New Town Bay) 1851
Watercolour on paper
22 x 29.5 cm (sight)
Signed with initials and dated lower left: ‘F.S. 1851’

Frederick Strange (c. 1807 – 1873) was sentenced to transportation for life in 1837 for stealing a watch. He arrived in Hobart Town in 1838, where he served as a government messenger. Prior to his departure from England, he was a portrait and house painter, a profession he was able to return to following his move to Launceston after obtaining a third class pass in 1841.

He struggled to make a living, particularly following the introduction of photography to the colony, and soon found a more comfortable existence as a grocer on Charles Street, Launceston. His former studios were taken over by a photographer. Strange died in Launceston in 1873.