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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.

Jane Franklin, c. 1866-75

an unknown artist after Thomas Bock

carved marble relief

Jane Franklin (née Griffin, 1791–1875) came to Van Diemen’s Land in 1837 following the appointment of her husband, Sir John Franklin, to the position of lieutenant-governor of the colony. Jane was somewhat unique among colonial vice-regal spouses for being forthright, childless and well-travelled; for her intellectual interests; and for her ‘unwomanly’ outspokenness on matters such as prison reform and convict discipline. Both she and Franklin viewed Van Diemen’s Land not merely as a prison but a new society in which education, science and the arts should be fostered. Foremost among the artists she supported was the ex-convict Thomas Bock. In 1837 she commissioned copies of his earlier watercolour portraits of the Aboriginal leaders associated with George Augustus Robinson; and in 1842 Bock created a portrait of Mathinna, an Aboriginal girl removed from her family in 1839 and taken to Government House in Hobart so that Lady Franklin might experiment with ‘civilising’ her. In 1838, at a friend’s request, Lady Franklin sat to Bock for her own portrait; this sculpture is said to be based on the drawing which resulted from the sitting.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2018

Accession number: 2018.17

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Thomas Bock

Jane Franklin (age 74 in 1866)

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.

Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius

Fine and dandy

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Whether the result of misadventure or misdemeanour, many accomplished artists were transported to Australia where they ultimately left a positive mark on the history of art in this country.

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Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Henry Mundy's portraits flesh out notions of propriety and good taste in a convict colony.

Ellen Stirling, c. 1828 Thomas Phillips
Ellen Stirling, c. 1828 Thomas Phillips
Ellen Stirling, c. 1828 Thomas Phillips
Ellen Stirling, c. 1828 Thomas Phillips

Duty bound

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Joanna Gilmour explores the life of colonial women Lady Ellen Stirling, Eliza Darling, Lady Eliza Arthur, Elizabeth Macquarie and Lady Jane Franklin.

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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.