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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.

Portrait of Augustus Leopold Küper

1823
Johann Paul Georg Fischer

watercolour over pencil on artist board (frame: 33.2 cm x 28.0 cm, sheet: 23.5 cm x 19.7 cm)

Admiral Sir Augustus Leopold Kuper GCB (1809-1885) entered the Royal Navy in London at fourteen. For the first decade of his career, he served in South American, British, Spanish, Portuguese and Mediterranean waters. In June 1837, he began to prepare for a voyage under his father-in-law - who was to become Rear Admiral of the Blue Sir James John Gordon Bremer KCB KCH - to northern Australia, where the British had already tried, and failed, to establish settlements at Fort Dundas (Melville Island) and Fort Wellington on the Cobourg peninsula. The goals at Port Essington were to establish cultivation of cotton, spices, sugar and other produce, using cheap labour from Southeast Asia; and to create a trading hub like Singapore, which had developed so dramatically between 1819 and 1835. Kuper was in charge of the Pelorus, which was driven ashore in a hurricane at Port Essington in mid-1839; doggedly, he directed the 86 days’ work required to free the vessel. By 1850 Port Essington, too, lay abandoned; its scant remains are now in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. Long-departed, Kuper prospered, becoming Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies and China Station. In the 1860s he was involved with the bombardment of Kagoshima and commanded the fleet that re-opened the Straits of Shimonoseki; for the latter action, he was made Knight Grand Cross of the Bath.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2018

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

Johann Paul Georg Fischer (age 37 in 1823)

Augustus L. Küper

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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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