Skip to main content
Menu

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.

Portrait of Captain John Hunter

1792
Daniel Orme (engraver) after Robert Dighton

stipple engraving on paper (sheet: 19.2 cm x 13.8 cm, image: 15.0 cm x 12.0 cm)

John Hunter (1737–1821), naval officer, colonial governor and amateur artist, came to Sydney as second captain of the Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet. An expert navigator, Hunter stayed for four years during which he surveyed Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and the bays and rivers around Sydney. He spent three years back in England before being appointed Arthur Phillip’s successor as governor. By the time Hunter returned in 1795, many of the principles established by his predecessor had unravelled under the administration of the New South Wales Corps. Hunter struggled to curb the trade in rum and the ‘shameful excesses’ it created. But he is also remembered for the significant explorations he instigated or conducted himself during his four-year term as governor. A typical man of the scientific Enlightenment, Hunter was skilled in navigation, astronomy, art, botany and writing. His precise observations of Sydney’s topography and people remain among the most important documents of the early years of the British in Australia.

This portrait appeared as the frontispiece to Hunter’s An historical journal of the transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, published in London in 1792.

Purchased with funds provided by Ross A Field 2008

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

Robert Dighton (age 40 in 1792)

Daniel Orme (age 26 in 1792)

Captain John Hunter (age 55 in 1792)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Supported by

The Ian Potter Foundation (13 portraits supported)

Ross A. Field (12 portraits supported)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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