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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.

Sir James Martin

c. 1880s
Henry Samuel Sadd (engraver)

mezzotint on paper (sheet: 40.6 cm x 32.7 cm, image: 28.2 cm x 22.0 cm)

Sir James Martin (1820-1886) was fourth Chief Justice of New South Wales. A brilliant student, he began working as a journalist with the Australian, promoting the interests of the native-born. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1845, the year he became manager and editor of Robert Lowe’s anti-Gipps paper the Atlas. At around this time, according to his biographer Bede Nairn, ‘his enemies diversified, repelled by his rare combination of lowly birth, pugnacity, colonial patriotism, ability and growing wealth’; a prominent Catholic chaplain held him up as a ‘living example of the effects of an education not based upon religion’. He won a seat on the Legislative Council in 1848, weathering objections that he lacked the necessary property qualifications. He became attorney-general in 1856 (again, a controversial appointment, as he had not at that stage been admitted to the Bar) and was made QC in 1857. Spending a fortune on renovating Clarens in Wylde Street, Potts Point, he was active in choral and educational matters and lobbied for the beautification of Hyde Park. In 1863 he became premier; it was to be the first of his three terms in the position (1863–1865, 1866–1868 and 1870–1872). Martin’s appointment as New South Wales’s fourth chief justice in 1873, according to Nairn, was ‘the greatest triumph of the native-born in the nineteenth century.’ After bearing fifteen children, his wife left him in 1882.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 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

Henry Samuel Sadd (age 69 in 1880)

Sir James Martin (age 60 in 1880)

Supported by

L Gordon Darling AC CMG (38 portraits supported)

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.

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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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