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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.

George and Jemima Billet with family

c. 1852
C.H.T. Costantini

watercolour on paper (frame: 38.7 cm x 34.2 cm depth 1 cm, sheet: 28.0 cm x 23.0 cm)

George Bellette (1812–1885) was a farmer and landowner and the son of two ex-convicts. His father was found guilty of stealing silk and came to Sydney with the First Fleet; his mother was transported in 1790 for thieving silverware. Both were sent to Norfolk Island, where they married and eventually acquired pardons. Relocated to Van Diemen’s Land in 1808, they moved to present-day Sorell, where many other Norfolk Island ex-convict families had settled. George’s marriage to a daughter of one such family, Jemima Larsom (1818–1891), took place in February 1835; their first child was born in 1836, and another eleven children followed between 1838 and 1858. George maintained an active interest in local political matters, served as a magistrate, and contributed significantly to farming activity in the district before retiring in 1880.

Charles Henry Theodore Costantini was transported to New South Wales for theft in 1823. He was pardoned in 1825, but re-offended almost immediately and was transported again – to Van Diemen’s Land – in 1827. Having served his term at Macquarie Harbour and Port Arthur he worked as an itinerant artist, creating ‘portraits in the most correct style’ from 1838 until his departure from the colony in the late 1850s.

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

C.H.T. Costantini (age 49 in 1852)

George Bellette (age 40 in 1852)

Jemima Bellette (age 34 in 1852)

Subject professions

Agriculture and farming

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

George and Jemima Billet with family
George and Jemima Billet with family
George and Jemima Billet with family
George and Jemima Billet with family

Costantini's convictions

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2017

Jo Gilmour uncovers endearing authenticity in the art of a twice-transported Tasmanian.

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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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