Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Home is where the heart is

You might think it’s a storyboard for a costume drama, or nothing more than an amateur artist’s dainty depiction of her children. But this supposedly naïve little picture belies what must have been on the artist’s mind when she made it.

Maria Brownrigg (née Blake) was a naval officer’s daughter. In Cape Town in 1830 she married Lieutenant Marcus Freeman Brownrigg, RN. Eldest child Marcus junior (seated at the piano) was born in 1835, and Maria produced four daughters and another son over the next ten years. They came to Sydney in 1852 and Brownrigg was appointed superintendent of the Australian Agricultural Company’s operations at Port Stephens. In 1856, however, he was dismissed for incompetence and travelled to Sydney to clear his name. Not that you’d know it from this portrait of agreeable, familial contentment created by Maria (her only known work), but the rest of the family – evicted from the superintendent’s official residence – spent anxious months at Yarra Cottage awaiting the outcome. Brownrigg must have succeeded, for his eventual departure from Port Stephens was ‘deeply regretted by the whole community, to whom he and his family endeared themselves by many acts of kindness and liberality’.

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

Choose your next love story

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Café and shop

The café is open 9:00am-3:30pm every day. The shop is open 10:00am to 5:00pm every day.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.