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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.

Sir Thomas Gore-Browne, 1864

J. Walch & Sons (publisher)

tinted lithograph on paper (sheet: 61.0 cm x 44.0 cm, image: 42.0 cm x 33.0 cm)

More images of this artwork

Sir Thomas Gore Browne (1807-1887) was governor of Tasmania from 1861 to 1868. Browne joined the 44th Regiment at sixteen and through the 1820s and 1830s gained successive promotions to major. He served for a time as aide-de-camp to the high commissioner of the Ionian Islands. In 1842 he commanded the 41st regiment in the Afghan war, fighting with distinction in the Pisheen (Pishin) Valley; near Kandahar; at Guznee (Ghazni); and at Cabool (Kabul); and helping to destroy Istaliff (Istalif, which was destroyed again by the Taliban in 1998). By 1845 he was brevet-lieutenant-colonel. Retiring from the army in June 1851, he became governor and military commandant of St Helena. Appointed governor of New Zealand in 1854, he married; he and his wife Harriet, née Campbell, arrived in Auckland in the spring of 1855. After six years there, during which Browne bungled negotiations with the Māori and the Anglo-Māori wars began, he was recalled. On 10 December 1861 he was appointed governor of Tasmania, which was then gripped by an economic depression. The Tasmanians were excited at his and Harriet’s arrival and his time there was productive; he exhorted improvements to farming methods, encouraged immigration, promoted public education including the teaching of trades, and generally aimed to increase the island’s revenue. During his last year in office the Duke of Edinburgh visited Tasmania, occasioning incredible decorations and celebrations in Hobart. Browne returned to England in December 1868, leaving under a slight cloud having appointed a favourite to a public service post. He was made KCMG the following year. Having spent 1870-1871 as temporary administrator of Bermuda, he spent his last 18 years as Colonel Sir Thomas Gore Browne in retirement. Upon his death the Launceston Examiner paid tribute to him as a ‘prudent ruler and a kind and warm-hearted friend’ to the colony.

Frank Dunnett trained first in medicine, then in art in his native Scotland. In London, he attended the Royal Academy schools under JMW Turner and worked for Day and Co, lithographers. In poor health, he sailed for Melbourne, but ended up in Hobart, where he was employed in the Town Survey Office. There, he met WC Piguenit, whom he helped with painting. During the 1860s he was employed as a drawing master at the Collegiate School, but he seems to have continued to work at the Survey Office, too, as well as making watercolours and lithographs. On 5 December 1864 Walch’s Literary Intelligencer announced that his ‘two-colour lithographic Portrait of His Excellency the Governor’, published by J Walch and Sons, was for sale at 7 s 6 d. When the Duke of Edinburgh visited in 1868, he was presented with an address of welcome that had been executed with great detail and delicacy by Dunnett. The artist also painted three large transparencies that hung on the Survey Building amongst other extravagant decorations throughout the town. A number of his watercolours were exhibited in the Public Library in 1872, drawing praise in the Mercury. Later in the 1870s he was advertising his services in training youths for surveying situations, and he created the 1877 Tasmanian calendar for Henn and Co. He continued to exhibit into the 1880s. According to Design and Art Australia Online, ‘When a photograph [by Morton Allport] of an equestrian portrait of Rev. Robert Knopwood, the first Anglican chaplain of Van Diemen’s Land, was exhibited at the Old Hobart Exhibition in 1896 the catalogue stated that the original was a composite work, the portrait of the parson having been done by Gregson, the dog and the pony by J.W. Graves and the landscape by Frank Dunnett . . . Since Knopwood had died in 1838 and Dunnett was not in the colony until 1856, the background (at least) must have been added later, although Gregson’s portrait could have been done in the parson’s lifetime. Several versions of the painting survive (Dixson Galleries; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Bishopscourt, Hobart).’

Major James William Henry Walch (1788-1852) served in India and returned to England before bringing his wife and seven children to Tasmania in 1842. Leaving the land he had been granted in the Westbury district, he purchased a bookshop in Hobart at Wellington Bridge on the corner of Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets. On the first day of 1846 he and his eldest son, James, opened J Walch and Son, initiating a stationery, printing, book and postcard business that lasted into the 1980s, trading from 1876 in three-storey premises known as Walch’s Corner. The firm published Walch’s Tasmania Almanac for 107 years from 1863, and Walch’s Literary Intelligencer for 57 years from 1859. From 1900 to 1915 they printed their own postcards, which are sought after by collectors. Over time, they sold not just books and magazines but maps, textbooks, music scores, Japanese goods such as tea sets and lanterns, photo frames, prints, pianos, sporting equipment and paper for wrapping apples. Walch’s son Charles Edward Walch, involved in the business from the 1850s, became prominent as a lay preacher in Hobart; another son, Garnet Walch, became a playwright and bohemian in Melbourne and was secretary of the Athenaeum Club in the 1870s.

The information above is partly drawn from Des Beechey, ‘Beechey’s Postcard History’ at beecheyspostcardhistory.org.au , and partly from Design and Art Australia Online at https://www.daao.org.au/bio/frank-c-dunnett/biography/ .

Dunnett would have based his lithograph on a photograph of Gore Browne. There is a Freeman Brothers photograph of Gore Browne in the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand. They may taken photographs of Gore Browne on more than one occasion, and it is possible that Dunnett worked from one of these.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2018

Accession number: 2018.132

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

J. Walch & Sons

Sir Thomas Gore-Browne (age 57 in 1864)

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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.