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Portrait of Alfred Simpson
, c. 1880s

by 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
Accession number: LOAN2008.11.1