Anson portrait of Aboriginal Group

Group portrait of Truganini (left), William Lanney & Bessie Clarke

© The Private Collection of John & Robyn McCullagh 2005-2007 ARR

Details from owners:

Photograph on glass (cracked) in oval brass frame.

From left to right – Truganini, William Lanney, and Bessie Clarke.

Size of original: 365mm x 310mm

Inscription on verso:

“Last Aborigines, Tasmania” and a handwritten date along the left-hand border “1915”.

Verso of Group Portrait of (l to r) Truganini, William Lanney & Bessie Clarke

This photograph on glass bears the label on verso of “Anson’s” – i.e. John Anson.

However, since Truganini died in 1876, the original from which this photograph has been reproduced is considerably older.

The original can be identified as that of Charles A. Woolley’s, one of several portraits he took of this group of Aboriginal Tasmanians in 1866 (15 portraits are held at the State Library of NSW).

John Watt Beattie was employed by the Anson Brothers and eventually bought them out in 1892. A later reprint (late 1890s) by Beattie which is held at the Archives Office of Tasmania shows more of the image taken by Woolley, including a significant clue – the same carpet in the same studio where Woolley’s portraits of the Meredith family were taken.

The original was therefore taken by Charles A. Woolley ca. 1866, and this reprint is by Beattie and Anson in the late 1890s.

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