- Museum number
Drawing; watercolour, from a collection of nineteen Thomas Bock portraits of Tasmanian Aboriginal people held by the British Museum. It depicts the left profile of Prupilathina (aka Probelatter, Jimmy), a Tasmanian Aboriginal man.
- Production date
Height: 21.20 centimetres
Width: 16 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Plomley (1991:39) notes that of the various sets of portraits done by Bock found in institutions 'The profiles are only known in three of the sets (Robinson, Pitt Rivers and Dowling); there are no separate examples'. NB: The 'Robinson' set refers to the set in the British Museum and the 'Dowling' set refers to the set in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
"24. A drawing of Tasmanian [male symbol]. Head." 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.
This drawing is unsigned and untitled. The assumption of 'Jimmy' as the subject is based on naming in other versions of this image such as that held by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (see Bonyhady & Lehman 2018:168) dated 1837.
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: 24 (Davis Catalogue MS 145 RAI 1867)
Miscellaneous number: Oc2006-Drg65-Boc