- Museum number
Drawing; graphite and watercolour, from a collection of nineteen Thomas Bock portraits of Tasmanian Aboriginal people held by the British Museum. It depicts Prupilathina (aka Probelatter, Jemmy or Problatena), a Tasmanian Aboriginal man from Hampshire Hills, wearing a fur trimmed skin cloak, necklaces and holding a spear; scarification on his upper left arm.
- Production date
Height: 29.50 centimetres
Width: 22.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
"8. Fine coloured drawing of “Problatena” [male symbol], nearly full length, with a spear by his side. Native of Hampshire Hills. By Bock. Problatena is not ochred, and therefore presents the true and natural colour of the Tasmanians. Has kangaroo skin dress." From MS145, J B Davis, 'Catalogue of Drawings, Paintings & other objects of an Ethnological Nature', Royal Anthropological Institute Archive.
In 1965 NJB Plomley published a paper which attempted to untangle the complex provenance of the different collections of Thomas Bock’s (1790-1855) portraits of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, including those held by the British Museum. The British Museum’s seventeen Bock portraits were acquired from Dr J Barnard Davis’ collection in 1883. Plomley (1965:15) argued that Davis acquired this set of portraits before 1867 from Thomas Bock’s son, Alfred Bock (1835-1920), and that they are copies of Thomas Bock’s work, executed by Alfred. However, based on a close study of the surviving documentation and its relationship to the inscriptions on many of the British Museum’s Bock portraits, it is clear that the British Museum’s collection of Bock portraits derive from a larger assemblage of prints, paintings and ethnographic objects collected by Robinson before his return to England in 1852, and which Barnard Davis purchased from GA Robinson’s widow in 1867. Davis’ descriptions of this material clearly identify the works as having been executed by Thomas Bock.
Plomley (1965:4 ) titles this man as 'Jemmy/Jimmy/Problatena' (Plate 5), noting: 'The Oxford portrait has the type B inscription - "Jemmy/Native of Hampshire Hills;" and Captain Fuller's portrait has a type A inscription - "Jemmy/Native of the Hampshire Hills/Van Diemen's Land" is signed "T. Bock delt.". The notes on the Oxford portrait are "same as the grey bust"'.
The production date is based on Plomley (1991:35).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2017-2018 06 Dec– 11 Mar, Birmingham, Ikon Gallery, Thomas Bock
2018 17 Aug- 09 Nov, Hobart, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Thomas Bock
- Window mounted, in good condition.
- Acquisition notes
- This was probably part of the collection of artworks and ethnographic objects which Joseph Barnard Davis (q.v.) acquired from Robinson's widow in the 1860s, and which AW Franks (q.v.) later purchased for the British Museum at the auction sale of Davis's estate in 1883.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 8 (Davis Catalogue MS 145 RAI 1867)
Miscellaneous number: Oc2006-Drg60-Boc