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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.

Alfred Simpson, c.1866

an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (mount: 26.5 cm x 25.7 cm, image/sheet: 19.5 cm x 16.0 cm)

Alfred Simpson (1805-1891) established the Colonial Tinware Manufactory in Adelaide in 1853. At first producing household items, agricultural tools and cans, the firm expanded into products such as ovens, gas stoves and bedsteads, as well as ‘Adelaide Patent Fire and Thief Proof Safes’, famous for their purported ability to withstand attempts to explode them with dynamite. Munitions were added to the product list in the late 1880s and by the time of Alfred Simpson’s death in 1891, A Simpson & Sons was the largest metal manufacturing business in Australia. Alfred Muller Simpson carried on the business following his father’s death, opening another works in 1894 and later in that decade beginning the production of enamel-plated goods. Alfred M Simpson’s two sons, Alfred Allen Simpson (known as Allen) and Frederick Neighbour Simpson also entered the family business, becoming directors in 1910. The company began producing white goods in the 1940s, becoming famous for its washing machines. Simpson merged with Pope Industries in 1963 and is now owned by Electrolux. Allen Simpson, who served as Mayor of Adelaide from 1913 to 1915, was President of the Royal Geographical Society from 1925 to 1930. Hence, he knew Douglas Mawson, who named Cape Simpson in Antarctica after his friend. Mawson’s colleague, Cecil Madigan, named the Simpson Desert after him.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2014

Accession number: 2014.31

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Alfred Simpson (age 61 in 1866)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Related portraits

1. Portrait of Alfred Simpson, c. 1880s. All an unknown artist.

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This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

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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.