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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

John Knatchbull, Murderer of Mrs Ellen Jamieson

c. 1844
an unknown artist

lithograph on paper (frame: 40.0 cm x 31.5 cm, sheet: 23.3 cm x 17.7 cm, sight: 22.2 cm x 14.8 cm)

John Knatchbull (1792?-1844), naval captain and convict, served in the British navy before being convicted of stealing and transported to New South Wales. He became constable to the Bathurst - Mount York mail service and an overseer on the Parramatta Road before being convicted of forging. Sentenced to death, he was sent to Norfolk Island instead. Here he was involved in a mutiny, but escaped justice after turning informer on his fellow mutineers. He obtained his ticket of leave in 1843, but the following year he was arrested for the murder of a woman. He was defended by Robert Lowe, later Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary, who for the first time in a British court raised the plea of moral insanity (insanity of the will, as opposed to the intellect) in the case. Despite this plea and a subsequent appeal, Knatchbull was hanged in February 1844.

Portrait lithographs from colonial Australia are exceedingly rare.

Gift of Leo Schofield AM 2005. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

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

John Knatchbull (age 53 in 1844)

Donated by

Dr Leo Schofield AM (4 portraits)

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency