- Museum number
Drawing; watercolour, from a collection of nineteen Thomas Bock portraits of Tasmanian Aboriginal people held by the British Museum. It depicts, a Tasmanian Aboriginal woman, possibly Nollerhalleker (or Kit) wearing a neck-ornament and skin garment. She has scarification on her right arm. (Until 2018, it was believed this was a portrait of Larratong. See curatorial comment).
- Production date
- 1833 (late (see curatorial comment))
Height: 28.50 centimetres
Width: 22 centimetres
- Curator's comments
"16. Fine coloured drawing of a Tasmanian [female symbol] (grave looking). Has a skin dress and Wheals, but is not ochred. By Bock. Bock was an artist who lived at Hobarton. He was most scrupulously accurate. I have some account of him in a letter from his son in the portfolio 'Galerie Anthropologique' [held in the British Museum's Centre for Anthropology]." From MS145 'Catalogue of Drawings, Paintings & other objects of an Ethnological Nature', Royal Anthropological Institute Archive.
In 1963 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 was acquired from Dr J Barnard Davis’ collection in 1883. Plomley (1963:15) 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 1991:35 wrote that the production date was about October 1831 and that this was a portrait of Larretong. Historian Cassandra Pybus, in advice by email June 2018, believes this is not 'Laratong' as asserted by Plomley, but Nollerhalleker (Kit), widow of Penderoin ('chief of Cape Grim').
- 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: 16 (Davis Catalogue MS 145 RAI 1867)
Miscellaneous number: Oc2006-Drg68-Boc