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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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Richard Fitzgerald

c. 1838
Edmund Edgar

pencil and watercolour on paper (frame: 46.7 cm x 39.5 cm depth 4 cm, sheet: 34.5 cm x 27.6 cm)

Richard Fitzgerald (1772–1840), convict and settler, was transported to New South Wales in 1791. His knowledge of agriculture made him useful to the colony’s administrators and a year after his arrival he was appointed superintendent of convicts at the government farm at Toongabbie. Having spent the first five years of a seven year sentence in Newgate Prison and then on a hulk at Woolwich, Fitzgerald soon earned his freedom and by 1802 was working as inspector and director of all of the farms belonging to government. He had also become a landowner and farmer in his own right, with substantial holdings in the Cabramatta district. Fitzgerald sided with John Macarthur and other major players in the overthrow of governor William Bligh in January 1808, in reward for which he was appointed constable of the Hawkesbury district by Bligh’s usurper, George Johnston. Despite this, Fitzgerald also came to enjoy the favour of the colony’s next governor, Lachlan Macquarie, who considered him a ‘most honest upright good man’. Fitzgerald served in a number of different roles during Macquarie’s term and became a close friend and trusted advisor to the governor and his wife, Elizabeth, who referred to him as ‘our dear Fitz’. Fitzgerald left government service following Macquarie’s return home, thereafter focussing on the management of his properties. One of the first shareholders in the Bank of New South Wales, Fitzgerald is said to have been partly responsible for introducing Freemasonry to New South Wales and was a generous donor to the church and other charities.

Edmund Edgar (1804–1854), engraver and portrait painter, was convicted of robbery in London in 1825 and sentenced to transportation for life. When he reached Sydney in 1826 he was assigned to the artist Augustus Earle, who required a skilled printmaker’s assistance with the production of Views in Australia – an album containing the first lithographic views printed in the colony. Edgar worked for a time as a teacher at Gilchrist’s School for boys and was recalled by one student, the artist Samuel Elyard, as being ‘glad to impart a knowledge of Art to anyone who had a taste for it’. Edgar received a ticket of leave in 1838 and a full pardon in 1844, but the few known surviving works by his hand confirm that he was working as a portraitist before this time. In the late 1840s, he was listed as occupying an address in The Rocks and he is also believed to have lived for a time in Parramatta. He died a pauper in the Sydney Benevolent Asylum in June 1854.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift in memory of Richard Kelynack Evans 2010
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

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

Edmund Edgar (age 38 in 1838)

Richard Fitzgerald (age 66 in 1838)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Chris Bowman (2 portraits)

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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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