Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

The Hon. Sir Francis Forbes

c. 1860
Henry Samuel Sadd

mezzotint on paper (sheet: 33.0 cm x 23.4 cm, image: 19.8 cm x 15.3 cm)

Sir Francis Forbes (1784–1841) was the first chief justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court. London-trained, Forbes had worked in Bermuda and as the attorney general of Newfoundland before being recommended for the New South Wales role in 1823. He arrived in Sydney in March 1824 with his wife, Amelia, and their two sons. Forbes had good relationships with governors Thomas Brisbane and Richard Bourke; but clashed with Ralph Darling on matters such as the governor’s attempts to silence the press. He also attracted the enmity of powerful colonists such as John Macarthur and Samuel Marsden, both of whom sought to discredit him; Macarthur denounced his as a ‘dangerous, detestable, unprincipled, immoral, base and artful man’, although Bourke, for example, wrote 'It would be difficult in the whole range of colonial courts, to point out a person on the Bench who, from integrity and ability, legal knowledge and devotion to His Majesty's service, is better entitled to the honour of a knighthood, than Chief Justice Forbes'. Having thought of himself as a ‘marked man’ from 1825 onward, Forbes returned to England in ill health in 1836. There, he gave evidence to the Molesworth Committee on transportation, stating his belief that the practice of sending convicts to the colony should be discontinued. He retired in 1837, soon after receiving a knighthood.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

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 49 in 1860)

Sir Francis Forbes KNt

Subject professions

Law and justice

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 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency