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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.

William Westall, 1854

George Dance and William Daniell (engraver)

etching on paper (sheet: 34.3 cm x 26.7 cm)

William Westall (1781–1850), artist, grew up in London and was taught draw by his elder half-brother Richard, who was drawing master to Princess Victoria. In 1799 he was admitted to the Royal Academy School, but the following year was appointed landscape artist to the Investigator expedition, led by Matthew Flinders. During the voyage, for which he was paid 300 guineas, he made many pencil-and-wash landscapes, a series of coast profiles in pencil, some representations of Indigenous people and the first known European copies of Aboriginal cave paintings. Many of Westall’s drawings were ‘wetted and partly destroyed’ when the Porpoise (aboard which Flinders and other expeditioners were returning to England) ran aground on Wreck Reef in 1803. Those drawings that were salvaged were then taken to London where, at the suggestion of Sir Joseph Banks, they were handed to Richard Westall to be restored. After spending some time in China and India, Westall returned to London in 1805 before travelling to Madeira and Jamaica. On commission from the Admiralty, Westall painted nine oils from his Investigator sketches that were later engraved to illustrate Flinders’s A Voyage to Terra Australis (1814).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011

Accession number: 2011.23

Currently not on display

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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.