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Mary Ware
, c.1854

by Robert Dowling

oil on canvas on board (support: 34.0 cm x 29.0 cm)

Jeremiah and Mary Ware were close friends of artist Robert Dowling’s father, the Reverend Henry Dowling, a Baptist minister who emigrated to Van Diemen’s Land in 1834 (some of his children having done so several years earlier). The Wares had been members of Dowling’s congregation in London, and Dowling conducted Tasmania’s first Baptist service at the Ware’s house in Hobart in 1834. Dowling officiated at the marriages of a number of the Ware’s children, and at Jeremiah Ware’s second wedding in Launceston in 1860. It was through these social and church connections that Robert Dowling secured portrait commissions early on in his career as an artist. These two portraits, for example, were commissioned by Jeremiah and Mary Ware around the time that some of their sons left for the Western District of Victoria to found their own pastoral enterprises. Jeremiah George Ware (1818–1859), the eldest of the Ware’s children, eventually became a major landholder in the districts of Colac and Camperdown, acquiring independently or in partnership with his brothers, Joseph and John, properties such as Koort-Koort-Nong, Minjah, Yalla-y-Poora and Jellalabad. The association with the Wares and other landowners in Victoria also resulted in some of Robert Dowling’s most significant works.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by Mary Isabel Murphy and Rosalind Blair Murphy 2014
Accession number: 2014.24