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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.

Edward John Eyre, Late Governor of Jamaica, 1867

John Brown

engraving on paper (sheet: 22.0 cm x 14.0 cm, image: 11.5 cm x 9.0 cm)

More images of this artwork

Edward John Eyre (1815-1901), explorer and administrator, emigrated to New South Wales from England when he was seventeen. Settling in Adelaide after pioneering expeditions with sheep and cattle, he made several attempts to find an overland stock route from the city to the west. In January 1840 he learned that a committee was organising an expedition to find a way west. Eyre persuaded them to refocus the expedition on the north, agreeing to pay for half of this bid to 'discover the inland of Australia'. Many gruelling months into the trip, one of his party was murdered, and the rest disappeared. Eyre and his Aboriginal colleague, Wylie, staggered into Albany more than a year after they had set out. In 1844, after having served as Protector of Aborigines in South Australia, Eyre sailed home. In 1865, his career ended contentiously in Jamaica, where he violently quelled what he saw as an incipient rebellion. Returning to England, he found the intelligentsia divided on his actions; court proceedings were three times brought against him, but dismissed. In the early 1870s, the government paid all his legal costs and awarded him a governor's pension; he lived in seclusion near Tavistock, Devon, for the rest of his life.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Karen McLeod Adair and Anthony Adair 2003

Accession number: 2003.40

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

John Brown

Edward John Eyre (age 52 in 1867)

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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.

Edward John Eyre, 1867 Julia Margaret Cameron
Edward John Eyre, 1867 Julia Margaret Cameron
Edward John Eyre, 1867 Julia Margaret Cameron
Edward John Eyre, 1867 Julia Margaret Cameron

Hearts of Darkness

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2006

The National Portrait Gallery's acquisition of the portrait of Edward John Eyre by pioneering English photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

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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.