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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.

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Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)

1833
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
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

Claude-Marie Dubufe (age 43 in 1833)

Lady Jessie Eyre Williams (age 18 in 1833)

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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.

Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)
Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)
Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)
Portrait of Lady Eyre Williams (Jessie Gibbon)

Chance encounter

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and times of one of Melbourne's early socialites, Jessie Eyre Williams.

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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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