- Museum number
Drawing; watercolour, from a collection of nineteen Thomas Bock portraits of Tasmanian Aboriginal people held by the British Museum. It depicts Manalakina (Mannalargenna), a leader of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people from Oyster Bay. He has dressed hair and beard, and is wearing necklaces and holding a fire stick.
- Production date
Height: 26.50 centimetres
Width: 22.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Plomley (1965:4) lists a similar image as '9. Manalargenna (Plate 6) noting: 'Four examples of this portrait are known. The one at Oxford has a type A1 inscription - "Manalargenna/A Chief of the Eastern Coast of/ Van Diemen's Land"; and another in the Tasmanian Museum has a similar inscription. There are two examples in the Royal Anthropological Institute, one having a type A1 inscription, the other type A2. The former is signed "T.Bock" in type A1 capitals and has associated with it the following handwritten note - Mr Hobson of Hobart Town, gave me this drawing of Manarlargenna on May 18th 1837. He told me that he had hunted with him, often, and that this was a very good likeness. It was taken from life. The artist is a German". This note is almost certainly Lady Franklin's. The notes on the Oxford portrait are - "dead - a powerful chieftain & considered a sage - sinews of kangaroo tail spun cord around his neck" '. In footnote 10 on p.21, Plomley states: 'Why Lady Franklin should have thought Thomas Bock to have been a German is not clear, unless she considered the name Bock sounded Germanic.'
"10. Fine coloured drawing of 'Manalargenna' [male symbol]. By Bock. A chief (?) of eastern coast. Carries a firestick." From MS145 J B Davis 'Catalogue of Drawings, Paintings & other objects of an Ethnological Nature', Royal Anthropological Institute Archive.
Oc2006, Drg.74 is a copy of this drawing done by G. Gray for J. Barnard Davis.
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.
The production date is based on Plomley (1991:35).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015-2016 27 Nov-28 Mar, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, Encounters
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: 10 (Davis Catalogue MS 145 RAI 1867)
Miscellaneous number: Oc2006-Drg61-Boc