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Sarah Tuckfield
, c. 1854

by an unknown artist

oil on canvas (frame: 63.1 cm x 52.6 cm, support: 53.5 cm x 44.9 cm)

Sarah Tuckfield neé Gilbart (c. 1808–1854), was the daughter of a Cornish farmer. She accompanied her husband to Victoria in 1838, conceiving her first child on the journey. While supporting Francis in his mission work by nursing and teaching Aboriginal people, she had five more children, one of whom died at the age of twelve months. Sarah had two more children while they lived in Geelong between 1848 and 1850. For the next three years they were in Sydney, where Francis ministered at the York Street Chapel. In the early days of the next phase of her husband’s career, in Maitland, Sarah died. Her death notice referred to a protracted and painful affliction, which she bore with exemplary patience. Francis Tuckfield married Mary Stevens in 1857, and fathered a further four children with her.

Family tradition holds that this work and the companion portrait of Francis Tuckfield were painted in England prior to the couple’s departure in 1837. However, a stamp on the reverse of both works shows that the canvases were supplied by a firm operating between 1851 and 1854, suggesting that these portraits are later, locally-made copies of the original 1837 paintings.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the Freer Tuckfield family 2010
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2010.139