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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.

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Robert Brown

c. 1835
Dario Castellini (lithographer) after Carlo Liverati

lithograph on paper (sheet: 35.5 cm x 24.0 cm)

Robert Brown (1773–1858), botanist, became interested in natural history while studying medicine at Edinburgh University. In 1799 he met Sir Joseph Banks, who offered him the position of naturalist aboard the Investigator, which, under Matthew Flinders, was to conduct a surveying voyage to establish whether New Holland was one or several islands. During the course of Flinders’ consequent circumnavigation of Australia (between December 1801 and June 1803), Brown collected extensively and identified numerous species previously unknown to science. When Flinders sailed home in 1803, Brown stayed on, conducting further botanical explorations in Port Phillip, Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales before returning to England in 1805. In all, his work had resulted in a collection of some 3600 plants as well as zoological and geological specimens. His Australian findings were published as Prodromus florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van Diemen in 1810. He became Banks’s librarian the same year. When Banks’s collections were transferred to the British Museum in 1827, Brown became head of the Museum’s Botanical Department. He was awarded the Royal Society’s highest honour, the Copley Medal, in 1839; and became President of the Linnean Society in 1849. He continued to work at the British Museum until a year before his death at age 85.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2014

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

Carlo Liverati (age 30 in 1835)

Dario Castellini

Robert Brown (age 62 in 1835)

Subject professions

Science and technology

Related portraits

1. Robert Brown, 1850. All Thomas Herbert Maguire.

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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 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.

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