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Portrait of Eliza, Lady Arthur
, c 1830

by Benjamin Duterrau

oil on wood panel (sight: 24.7 cm x 20 cm)

On loan to the National Portrait Gallery

Eliza Arthur (c. 1790s–1854), governor’s spouse, met George Arthur when he was stationed with the British army in Jamaica and married him in 1814. After spending the first years of her marriage in Honduras, Eliza accompanied Arthur to Tasmania, arriving in Hobart with him and their first five children in May 1824. An officer’s daughter, Eliza was evidently accustomed to the difficulties involved in colonial service. Despite poor health and constant childbearing (she had 13 children in under 20 years), in Hobart she proved a model governor’s wife: dutiful, patroness of charities, capable housekeeper, devoted mother, helpmeet, and hostess. Eliza was approved of by the colonists despite the poor opinions commonly held of her husband and criticisms of his administration.

This portrait and its companion are believed to date from the 1830s, when Benjamin Duterrau’s daughter, Sarah, was employed as a governess to Eliza’s daughters.

Pictures Collection
National Library of Australia
Accession number: LOAN2009.12.7