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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.

Phillip Parker King, 1854

Thomas Woolner

cast plaster (frame: depth 5.5 cm diameter 31.0 cm)

Phillip Parker King RN (1791–1856) has been described as the first Australian-born person to succeed in the world outside the colonies. He trained for a naval career in England, and subsequently became skilled in surveying. In 1817 he was appointed to explore the Australian coastline to consolidate the earlier work of Matthew Flinders. Over five years he made four difficult voyages, charting many gulfs, identifying several islands, and providing the first reports of Port Darwin. He was accompanied on the early voyages by Bungaree. In 1826, regarded as one of Britain's leading hydrographers, he sailed in the company of the Beagle to chart Peru, Chile and Patagonia. From 1832 onwards King was an agricultural administrator, although he was promoted rear admiral on the retired list in 1855. He continued to take an interest in exploration and published many volumes on his investigations in New South Wales.

Thomas Woolner was a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English poets and artists. He came to Australia in 1852 to try his luck on the goldfields, but quickly returned to portraiture. He produced a number of medallions of prominent Melbourne and Sydney citizens before returning to England in 1854.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2000

Accession number: 2000.11

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Thomas Woolner (age 29 in 1854)

Phillip Parker King (age 63 in 1854)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

The last of England 1855
The last of England 1855
The last of England 1855
The last of England 1855

Pre-Raphaelite Profile

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

In 2006 the National Portrait Gallery acquired a splendid portrait of Victoria's first governor, Lieutenant Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe by Thomas Woolner.

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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.