Colonial School, ‘Brown Family Portrait’, c.1840,

Product information:

Auction

128

Lot

518

$1,220.00

Including Buyers Premium

1 in stock

Oil on canvas on panel, approx. 63.5 x 87cm (image), 82 x 105.5cm (frame). A rare and historically significant group portrait of a Colonial era British-Australian family. Appears unsigned, (signature possibly obscured by frame). It is worth noting that convict artists transported to Australia during the 19th century often did not sign their work, which is a possibility with this piece. On the reverse an old paper fragment (together with a modern transcription) reads: ‘Colonial School, Forbears of the Thomas Brown family (Queensland Shipping Company). The little boy is Thomas Brown’s father (he was an early minister in Queensland circa 1860-70), painting circa 1840.’ Some surface issues with canvas lifting and uneven in places, a few fairly small areas of paint loss, the large antique frame with chipping and wear. Viewing recommended. Available for local pickup, otherwise courier to be arranged and paid for by bidder.
This museum-worthy portrait depicts the grandparents of Thomas Brown, his father as a young boy and two other siblings, situated in a study or library and surrounded by books and works of art. Brown senior sits in a position of authority, formally attired with high collar and white neck tie, while his wife stands dressed in an opulent yellow gown and elegant brooch, examining a document. At their side is their son in coat, stockings and knee breeches, and the family dog. Further to the left on the floor are two other children playing, including a girl in a wide bonnet decorated with ribbons. In the background a solemn Greek or Roman bust and a formal portrait look on, adding a sobering element to the composition. Further research may provide more insights regarding the sitters and possible identity of the artist.

Auction

128

Lot

518

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