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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 on display: Gallery Three (Robert Oatley Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Thomas Woolner (age 29 in 1854)

Phillip Parker King (age 63 in 1854)

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