- Museum number
- Object: Woureddy, Native of Brune Island, Tasmania
Framed painting; three quarter length portrait of a Tasmanian Aboriginal man, Wurati (Woureddy), with dressed hair; wearing skins and necklaces; holding a spear. Bruny Island, Tasmania. Signed and dated.
Oil on canvas.
- Production date
Height: 94 centimetres
Width: 84 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The Hobart Town Courier 22 April 1836 reported that Duterrau had 'painted a splendid full size painting of the native chief Woureddy...which he has presented to Mr G.A. Robinson in token of that gentleman's services in the colony in conciliating the hostile blacks'.
The BM curator A W Franks acquired the painting at the sale of the collection of the late J B Davis. See: Catalogue of Decorative Porcelain, Antiquities & other works of Art, including the collection of the late Dr J Barnard Davis, FSA, FRS &c, of Shelton, Hanley, Staffordshire, The well-known writer on Craniology ...[to be sold] by Messrs Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge ...19 January 1883.
There is a draft letter from A W Franks, 14 February 1883 to J B Davis’s widow asking for information about items in the sale in which he states “I also secured an oil painting by Ward (much injured) wh. seems to represent an African [see Sakalava triple portrait] (but I shd be glad to know anything of it) one of a Tasmanian native, which I presume is by Du Terreau ...” (Dept of Prehistory & Europe, pre 1896 correspondence). The reply to this enquiry, if any, does not seem to have been preserved.
N J B Plomley has researched the provenances of portraits of Tasmanians. In ‘Thomas Bock’s Portraits of the Tasmanian Aborigines’ (Museum Committee, Launceston City Council, 1965 p. 14) he documents the purchase of a number of portraits by Davis from G A Robinson, referring to a detailed list in Robinson’s Notebooks in the Royal Anthropological Institute. This includes ‘3. Oil Painting of “Woreddy”, or “The Doctor.” 3 ft. 1 in. by 2 ft. 9 in. This painting is framed in a beautiful Tasmanian wood.’
The existence of two paintings of Woureddy is noted by Eve Buscombe, Artists in Early Australia and their Portraits (Eureka Research, Sydney, 1978) p. 325-6. That in the BM is said to be unsigned while that in Tasmania is signed B.D. 1834. It is suggested by Buscombe that the latter was the one presented to Robinson by Duterrau in 1836. The height of the BM painting is less than that in Tasmania (94 cm as opposed to 111.90 cm), and some of the lower part of the subject’s body is missing compared with that in Tasmania. The BM’s current height measurement is virtually the same as that given by Mrs Robinson to J B Davis in 1867. This may indicate that the base of the BM’s painting was reduced by some 18 cm prior to 1867 and this might explain the lack of a signature.
J.B. Davis's Catalogue of Drawings, Paintings and other objects of an ethnological nature, MS 145 in Royal Anthropological Institute notes:
'3. Oil painting of "Woreddy", or "The Doctor". 3ft 1 in by 2 ft 9 in. This painting is framed in a beautiful Tasmanian wood'.
- Not on display
- Acquisition notes
- Franks purchased it from an auction sale of Davis' estate in 1883.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Oc2006-Ptg22-Dut
Miscellaneous number: 3 (Davis Catalogue MS 145 RAI 1867)