Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency