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Self portrait

George French Angas

lithograph on paper (sheet: 36.0 cm x 29.1 cm)

George French Angas published many illustrations of the plants, native animals and peoples of Australia and Aotearoa during his forty years in the antipodes. The son of shipping magnate and banker George Fife Angas, a founder of the South Australian Company, he came to Adelaide in 1844 after a failed attempt at his father’s profession. In South Australia he participated in journeys to the Murray Lakes, the Mount Lofty Ranges, the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Barossa Valley and other places before embarking on a trip to Aotearoa. In South Australia again from early 1845, he exhibited in Adelaide (the colony’s first art exhibition) and then left for Sydney, showing his work there also before departing for home. In 1846, some 300 of his colonial paintings were displayed at London’s Egyptian Hall alongside bird specimens, costumes and artefacts, and a Māori youth whom Angas had ‘adopted’ in 1844. His volumes South Australia Illustrated, The New Zealanders Illustrated and Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand appeared in 1847. Angas returned to Australia in 1850, opting again for Adelaide before heading to the goldfields. From 1853 until 1860, Angas worked at the Australian Museum, undertaking cataloguing and research. He eventually returned to England but continued to produce publications drawn from his antipodean experiences. A fellow of the Linnaean, Royal Geographical and Zoological Societies, Angas died in London in 1886.

Purchased 1999

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

George French Angas (age 24 in 1846)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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