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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 Frost

1839
an unknown artist and W Read (engraver)

engraving on paper (sheet: 52.5 cm x 38.0 cm, plate-mark: 41.0 cm x 30.0 cm, image: 35.5 cm x 25.0 cm)

John Frost (1784-1877), political convict, became a radical agitator while working as a draper and tailor in his native Newport, Monmouthshire. He had already been gaoled for libel when he became Mayor of Newport in 1836. In late 1839 he led a band of Chartist miners in an armed attack in Newport; arrested, he was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, but was sent to Hobart Town instead. Arriving in 1840, he was treated as a political prisoner, with special privileges including clerical employment. Later, he became a schoolmaster, and was commended for doing well in the role. After working in various locations, he received a conditional pardon in 1854 and duly sailed for America. Returning to England two years later, he lectured and published on the Horrors of Convict Life (1856) and penned A Letter to the People of Great Britain and Ireland on Transportation (1857). He lived for another twenty years, becoming less political and more spiritual as time wore on.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2009

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

W Read

John Frost

Subject professions

Law and justice

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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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