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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 Alfred Simpson

c. 1880s
an unknown artist

oil on canvas (frame: 84.0 cm x 70.0 cm, sight: 63.5 cm x 48.7 cm)

On loan to the National Portrait Gallery

Alfred Simpson (1805–1891), manufacturer, started his professional life as a tinsmith in London before financial difficulties caused him to emigrate to Australia in 1849. After trying his luck on the goldfields, he opened a tinsmithing business in Adelaide. The Colonial Tinware Manufactory produced pots, pans and cans for a jam factory and later branched into labour-saving machinery and products such as ovens, gas stoves and safes, famous for their purported ability to withstand attempts to explode them with dynamite. The business started manufacturing munitions in the 1880s and by the time of his death, Alfred Simpson presided over the largest metal manufacturing business in Australia: A Simpson & Sons. The company began producing white goods in the 1940s and various household appliances are still produced under the Simpson brand.

Courtesy of Mr Antony Simpson

Artist and subject

Alfred Simpson (age 75 in 1880)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Related information

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency