- 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 wearing a neck-ornament and skin cloak.
- Production date
Height: 26.20 centimetres
Width: 22 centimetres
- Curator's comments
JB Davis MS 145 lists #13 as: 'This coloured drawing of a Tasmanian, [male symbol], has his head shaved, is in kangaroo skin dress, not ochred. By Bock. This is "Tomlaboma". G.A.R. '.
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 (1965:14) notes '16. UNKNOWN A/TOMLBABOMA (?) (Plate 10). [and an error he comments on in his 1991 publication]: 'This is a copy by Alfred Bock of an unknown original by Thomas Bock. In the collections at the British Museum it is associated with a set of Alfred Bock's copies of the group I portraits'.
Plomley (1965:23-24) further notes this is the only known portrait of 'Tomlaboma'. He also notes that although the person depicted is not named, it fits with the description of #13 on list of J. B.Davis, '(the shaven head suggests a female rather than a male'). Although a person by this name is not recorded, the name sounds like 'Tanlebonyer', who was the wife of Mannalargenna. The copy of this article in the BM Library has the name 'Vivienne Rae Ellis' written in ink on the front; and a note in ink against the plate 10 title says 'TANLEBONYER? SALL', and in red ink on p.24 'I think this is right'.
Plomley (1991:34) notes 'TOMLABOMA (Unknown A) - this is probably a mispelling of the name TANLEBONYER, the wife of the chief MANALARGENNA'.
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: 13 (Davis Catalogue MS 145 RAI 1867)
Miscellaneous number: Oc2006-Drg69-Boc