Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

"As straight as a reed" Henry John Rous (Image plate from Vanity Fair), 1870

Alfred Thompson

chromolithograph on paper (sheet: 35.0 cm x 23.0 cm)

Henry John Rous (1795–1877), naval officer, racing enthusiast and politician, arrived in Sydney in February 1827 as the commander of the frigate HMS Rainbow. During his first several months in New South Wales, he organised Sydney’s first regatta; made a return voyage to New Zealand; and then escorted governor Ralph Darling on a ‘tour of inspection’ to Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay, during the course of which he named Stradbroke Island in honour of his father, 1st Earl of Stradbroke. He was recalled to India in mid-1827, but before leaving secured a grant of land so that he might later introduce to the colony ‘entire horses of a superior description, blood mares, horned cattle, &c’. Consequently, on his return to Sydney in May 1828, he brought ‘three fine thoroughbreds’ with him and was duly elected an honorary member of the Agricultural Society. During August and September 1828, Rous undertook another journey northward in the Rainbow, charting and exploring the Tweed and Richmond Rivers (the latter of which he named) and thus alerting the colonists to another source of red cedar, a lucrative commodity. Recalled again to India in October 1828, Rous was farewelled with a dinner at which he was commended for having ‘bestowed such lasting public benefit’ on the colony. He eventually attained the rank of admiral, and after retiring from naval service devoted himself to his longstanding love of horses and the track, becoming public handicapper in 1855, devising the weight-for-age scale, and managing the Duke of Bedford’s stables for many years. He died, childless, in 1877.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

Accession number: 2015.17

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Alfred Thompson

Henry John Rous (age 75 in 1870)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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.

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.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.