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Portrait of Henry Hopkins
, c 1845

by Thomas Griffiths Wainewright

watercolour on paper (frame: 56.5 cm x 45.5 cm, sheet: 38.0 cm x 32.0 cm)

Henry Hopkins (1787–1870), businessman and philanthropist, opened his first shop on Elizabeth Street, Hobart, soon after arriving in the colony in September 1822. Having worked as a wool classer in England, Hopkins became involved in the development of the wool trade and is credited with the first export of wool from the colony. He quickly prospered and by the late 1830s had expanded his wool growing interests into Victoria. In addition to his various mercantile interests, Hopkins served as a magistrate; on the Legislative Council; and as a director of bodies such as the Van Diemen’s Land Bank and the Hobart Gas Company. He was also a generous donor to schools, missionary societies and the church, donating funds for the building of St David’s Cathedral, the All Saints’ Anglican Church and several other chapels in Hobart. On his death at 84 he was commended as ‘the special patron of all our religious, educational and charitable institutions . . . his liberality in this direction has made his name famous throughout Australasia and Great Britain’.

Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, an English artist of some refinement, squandered his inheritance and was sentenced to transportation for forgery and suspected poisoning. From 1837 he was in Hobart, enabled, on account of good behaviour, to pursue his art practice. Granted a ticket of leave in 1844, he died three years later, having created more than fifty of the finest Australian portraits of the period.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2013
Accession number: 2013.5