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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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Marianne Egan and her children Gertrude Evans Cahuac and Henry William Cahuac

1857
an unknown artist

oil on canvas (frame: 82.0 cm x 91.5 cm depth 8.5 cm, support: 60.5 cm x 70.5 cm)

Marianne Egan and her children Gertrude Cahuac and Henry Cahuac were 38, 18 and 20 years old respectively when they died in the Dunbar maritime disaster. Marianne, Gertrude and Henry embarked on the Dunbar with 120 other passengers in May 1857, intending to return to Sydney. Having made good progress, the ship met with foul weather as it arrived off the coast of Sydney around midnight on 20 August. Missing the entrance to Sydney Harbour, the ship was driven by violent seas into cliffs near South Head and ‘rent into a thousand pieces.’ Everyone on board, with the exception of a sailor named James Johnson, perished. While images exist of the sole survivor, this is the only known portrait of victims of the tragedy. The family had sat for the portrait in England but it was unfinished at the time the Dunbar sailed. The painting followed on another vessel, arriving safely a few months after the deaths of its subjects.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by the Liangis family 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.
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Audio description

3 minutes 25 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

Marianne Egan (age 39 in 1857)

Gertrude Evans Cahuac (age 18 in 1857)

Henry Cahuac (age 20 in 1857)

Supported by

Mrs Sortiria Liangis AM (12 portraits supported)

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.

Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask
Ned Kelly death mask

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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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