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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.

Sarah Simpson, c.1866

an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (mount: 26.5 cm x 24.6 cm, sheet: 19.5 cm x 16.0 cm)

Sarah Simpson (née Neighbour, 1806–1874) married tinsmith and hatter Alfred Simpson in London in 1838. Ten years later, financial difficulties prompted their emigration to Melbourne, but they disembarked in South Australia, the first English settlers of which had arrived in 1836. In the early 1840s deposits of silver, lead, copper and gold had been discovered in the region; the first vines had been planted, and the first wheat surplus achieved. Arriving on the John Woodhall in January 1849 with her husband and their son Alfred Muller Simpson, Sarah worked as a piano teacher in Adelaide while Simpson essayed various ventures, including two stints on the Victorian goldfields. In 1853 Alfred opened a tinsmithing business in Topham Street, Adelaide, called the Colonial Tinware Manufactory. As it grew, the business produced agricultural implements, pots and pans, and cans for a jam factory. Larger premises on Gawler Place were occupied in 1863 and the following year, coinciding with Alfred Muller’s 21st, the names A Simpson and Son appeared beneath the brand. Alfred Muller’s sons, Alfred Allen and Frederick Neighbour, joined the family business as it expanded in the twentieth century. Alfred outlived Sarah by seventeen years; when she died, at the end of 1874, her daughter-in-law Catherine was pregnant with Alfred Allen Simpson, the future mayor of Adelaide.

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

Accession number: 2014.32

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Sarah Simpson (age 60 in 1866)

Subject professions

Migration and colonisation

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
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Darling Portrait Prize

Current exhibition

from Friday 6 March

The Darling Prize is a new annual prize for Australian portrait painters, painting Australian sitters. The winner receives a cash prize of $75,000.

Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
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Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling

Previous exhibition, 2015

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.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.