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Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)
, 1833

by Claude-Marie Dubufe

oil on canvas (frame: 119.0 cm x 101.0 cm, support: 84.0 cm x 66.0 cm)

Jessie, Lady Eyre Williams (née Gibbon, 1815–1903), daughter of an Aberdeenshire clergyman, came to Australia in 1842, about a year after her marriage to barrister and judge, Edward Eyre Williams (1813–1880). Williams was admitted to the colonial bar soon after his arrival in Melbourne and by 1852 he had been appointed to the Supreme Court. He was active in a number of community spheres, such as the establishment of the Melbourne Hospital, and spoke in support of the abolition of convict transportation. In 1847, he and Jessie took up residence in South Yarra in an Italianate mansion named after Lake Como, Italy (where Williams is said to have proposed to his bride). Edward and Jessie lived at Como for five years before selling the estate and moving to St. Kilda, where they remained until their return to England in 1874. Edward and Jessie had two sons and two daughters; their son Hartley followed his father into the law and joined the bench of the Victorian Supreme Court in 1881.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2009
Accession number: 2009.34