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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.

Master of the Hunt "Steady, Gentlemen, Steady!" [Mr George Watson]

1874
Tom Durkin and The Weekly Times (publisher)

from the series ‘Masks and Faces’
lithograph on paper (sheet: 33.2 cm x 20 cm)

George John Watson (1829–1906), racing entrepreneur, was born at Ballydarton in Co. Carlow, Ireland, the son of a hunt master ‘who in his day earned an enviable reputation as a country gentleman.’ Watson arrived in Victoria in 1850 having consolidated his penchant for gentlemanly pursuits and the following year became the lessee of Kirk’s Bazaar, a leading horse-sale yard. During the 1850s, Watson and his business partner Cyrus Hewitt, an American, acquired Cobb & Co coaches and secured the lucrative contracts for mail services connecting Melbourne with Bendigo, Ballarat and Beechworth. At the same time, he became involved in the colonial horseracing industry, establishing training ventures in the Riverina and West Gippsland. A fine rider himself, Watson’s horses won a number of significant fixtures: Flying Colours was victorious in the Derby in 1860, for instance, and Palestine took out the inaugural Oak Stakes at Flemington in 1861. A committee member of the Victoria Racing Club for many years, Watson was also a world-renowned race starter, carrying out this role for the Melbourne Cup on several occasions. In addition, he founded the Melbourne Hunt Club in 1853. His obituary in The Age stated that ‘as a gentleman rider, cross country, over hurdles, or on the flat, the master of the MHC has had few equals, and as master of hounds he has gained the cordial esteem and sincere respect of all true sportsmen.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2016

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.

Artist and subject

Tom Durkin (age 21 in 1874)

The Weekly Times

Mr George Watson (age 45 in 1874)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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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.

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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.

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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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