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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.

"A Squatter" Sir Samuel Wilson (Image plate from Vanity Fair), 1885

Sir Leslie Ward

chromolithograph on paper (sheet: 38.0 cm x 26.3 cm)

Sir Samuel Wilson (1832-1895), pastoralist and politician, arrived in Victoria in 1852, and with his three brothers established successful squatting runs along the Wimmera River. Wilson became an expert station manager and his natural skill in mathematics allowed him to design a system of gravity-fed channels and dams on his landholdings. He bought out his brothers after 1869 and continued to expand his empire by purchasing leases and freehold land in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. He served in the Victorian Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly and supported Federation. In the 1870s Wilson funded the building of the University of Melbourne’s gothic Wilson Hall. He returned to England in 1881 and served in the House of Commons. The Vanity Fair text accompanying this plate notes that he took ‘considerable interest in the introduction of salmon, goats and ostriches into Australia’ and that he was ‘very, very rich, and, on occasion, very free with his money.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mr Ronald Walker 2001

Accession number: 2003.206.7

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Sir Leslie Ward (age 34 in 1885)

Sir Samuel Wilson

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Ronald Walker (23 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

"Australia" (Alfred Deakin) (Image plate from Vanity Fair), 1908 Sir Leslie Ward
"Australia" (Alfred Deakin) (Image plate from Vanity Fair), 1908 Sir Leslie Ward
"Australia" (Alfred Deakin) (Image plate from Vanity Fair), 1908 Sir Leslie Ward
"Australia" (Alfred Deakin) (Image plate from Vanity Fair), 1908 Sir Leslie Ward

Vanity fair

Magazine article by Ashleigh Wadman, 2012

Ashleigh Wadman rediscovers the Australian characters represented with a kindly touch by the British portrait artist Leslie Ward for the society magazine Vanity Fair.

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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.