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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.

Portrait of His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, Governor of Victoria

c. 1864
Thomas Clark

oil on canvas (frame: 95.0 cm x 68.2 cm, support: 76.0 cm x 49.0 cm)

Sir Henry Barkly GCMG KCB (1815–1898) served terms as governor of British Guiana and Jamaica before being appointed governor of Victoria in 1856, arriving in the colony just a few weeks after the first sitting of its newly created parliament. Over the next six years Barkly’s priority was securing stable government, but he was also a strong supporter of philanthropic and intellectual movements. He was a founder and President of the Royal Society of Victoria, and helped to found the National Gallery, the Acclimatization Society and the National Observatory. It was Barkly who proposed – in 1861 – that the Victorian Exploring Expedition should be known henceforth as the Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition. In 1863 he became Governor of Mauritius; seven years later he was sent to the Cape of Good Hope. In retirement, as an elected Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, he applied himself to science.

Thomas Clark arrived in Victoria in about 1852, having been anatomical draftsman at King’s College London and headmaster of the Birmingham School of Design. By the 1860s he was teaching at the Artisans’ Schools of Design in Carlton and Collingwood, and becoming known for his landscapes of the Melbourne area. Clark painted Barkly on commission. This work is a study for the final colossal portrait, which lacks a horse.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by The Ian Potter Foundation 2007

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

Thomas Clark (age 50 in 1864)

Sir Henry Barkly GCMG KCB (age 49 in 1864)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Supported by

The Ian Potter Foundation (13 portraits supported)

Related information

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Sir Henry Barkly

Portrait story

An interview with former National Portrait Gallery Director, Andrew Sayers, who describes the portrait of Sir Henry Barkly by Thomas Clark.

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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.

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