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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.

Viscount Robert Lowe (Image plate from Vanity Fair Magazine), 1869

Carlo Pellegrini

chromolithograph on paper (sheet: 35.5 cm x 23.0 cm)

Robert Lowe, Viscount Sherbrooke (1811-1892), politician, studied and tutored in law at Oxford before coming to Australia in 1842. Although he was a fervent adherent to the principles of the British Constitution, he recognised special needs in the colony, and during his eight years here he was a prominent opponent of the Crown initiatives for which Governor Gipps was the vehicle. Early on, despite severe ill health, he practised as a lawyer (famously unsuccessfully defending John Knatchbull but adopting the two children of the woman Knatchbull murdered). He made his first speeches in the Legislative Council as an unofficial nominee in 1843, setting out his vision of better government through laissez faire policy. He joined the Pastoral Association of New South Wales, recommending a state supported, non-denominational school system, and launched a weekly journal, the Atlas, lobbying for responsible government. In 1845 he returned to the Legislative Council campaigning strongly against the squatting system, and later vehemently opposed further transportation as a measure to hinder squatters in their ambitions. When in 1848, nominated for one of Sydney's two seats in the Legislative Council, he was returned a close second to Wentworth, Henry Parkes called it the 'birthday of Australian democracy'. Lowe returned to England in 1850, where he enjoyed a successful career as a columnist and politician, rising to the House of Lords in 1880 and eventually holding the posts of Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2013

Accession number: 2013.16

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Carlo Pellegrini (age 31 in 1869)

Robert Lowe, Viscount Sherbrooke (age 58 in 1869)

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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.

Viscount Robert Lowe (Image plate from Vanity Fair Magazine), 1869 Carlo Pellegrini
Viscount Robert Lowe (Image plate from Vanity Fair Magazine), 1869 Carlo Pellegrini
Viscount Robert Lowe (Image plate from Vanity Fair Magazine), 1869 Carlo Pellegrini
Viscount Robert Lowe (Image plate from Vanity Fair Magazine), 1869 Carlo Pellegrini

Meeting by Murder

Magazine article by Yvonne Audette AM, 2005

The story behind two colonial portraits; a lithograph of captain and convict John Knatchbull and newspaper illustration of Robert Lowe, Viscount Sherbrooke.

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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.