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Captain W Kinghorne
, 1834

by Thomas James Lempriere

oil on canvas (frame: 74.8 cm x 70.0 cm depth 6.2 cm, support: 63.5 cm x 58.7 cm)

William Kinghorne (1796–1878) came to Van Diemen’s Land from Scotland in 1822, having trained as a civil engineer and surveyor and then served in the Royal Navy and merchant navy for several years. Soon after arriving in the colony he was appointed a Master Mariner by Lieutenant-Governor, William Sorell and was given the command of the government schooner, Waterloo, one of two vessels tasked with plying the route between Hobart and the penal station at Macquarie Harbour, which set out on its maiden voyage in September 1822. As commander of the Waterloo and then the Cyprus, Kinghorne made the perilous voyage to Macquarie Harbour many times, bringing back Huon Pine, an excellent shipbuilding timber logged there by convicts. Later, as captain of the Prince Leopold, Kinghorne made voyages to Launceston and the Tamar River, again involved largely in transporting timber between settlements. Following the closure of Macquarie Harbour in 1834 and now in charge of the Isabella, Kinghorne remained engaged in convict-related work, transporting prisoners, passengers and goods between Hobart and Port Arthur, also making occasional trips to Sydney and New Zealand. Having made over 90 voyages as the captain of government vessels in Van Diemen’s Land, Kinghorne left the service in 1840, moved to Jervis Bay and established a whaling station. In retirement he lived on his brother’s property near Goulburn; he died there, unmarried and childless, in 1878.

Thomas James Lempriere (1796–1852) was a colonial public servant, writer and amateur artist who came to Van Diemen’s Land in 1822. In 1826, he was appointed to the Commissariat Department, working as the storekeeper for the penal settlements at Maria Island and Macquarie Harbour before transferring to Port Arthur in 1831. Lempriere took a keen interest in the landscape and natural history of the various places he visited and also developed some skill as a portraitist, painting surveyor George William Evans and Port Arthur commandant Charles O’Hara Booth. Kinghorne sat for this portrait during his visits to Port Arthur in the Isabella in March and April 1834. In June that year, Kinghorne returned to Hobart with the painting which is inscribed: ‘Capt. W. Kinghorne Commanding HM Brig Isabella painted by TJ Lempriere Commissariat Dept & presented by him to his friend Capt. K. as a small token of regard’. The painting was purchased from a descendant of Kinghorne’s sister, Elizabeth, in 2007.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by The Ian Potter Foundation 2007
Accession number: 2007.45