The portrait is titled Self portrait as Sarah Wisse, Transported. It was painted by Margaret Woodward in 1996 with oil on canvas. The work measures over two and a half metres tall by over one and a half metres wide in its frame. The frame is of smooth polished timber with a delicate pattern of knotted wood grain and an inner rim of gold.

The portrait shows the artist as Sarah Wisse, a distant relative who was deported to NSW around 1796. Sarah clutches a bundle; the cheese and clothing she was convicted of stealing. In the foreground is a table laden with fish, representing the sea, food, security, and a Bible passage from John 21:11.

The background of the work is painted with glossy deep red-black. This colour frames the portrait, with a narrow strip running across the top and down either side in wider bands. The inner rectangle of the composition is outlined in black and a thin line of white. The upper part of the rectangle has a black ground with patches of grey and blue, overlain with vertical black bars, the scratchy profile of a sailing ship and cursive text, only some words legible, from Sarah’s judgement.

Moving down the portrait, the blacks and greys continue but with some splashes of bright orange-red. A narrow ribbon of white describes the curve of the back of a chair against which Sarah rests her head. A turban covers her hair, sitting close over her forehead, then protruding horn-like on the left side of her head. Her face and neck, touched by light coming from the right of the scene, are rendered in with warm pinks and pale turquoise highlights. Sarah’s dark eyes look directly at us, and her mouth is closed with the corners downturned. Her neck is bare apart from the shadow of one of the bars falling over her left shoulder.
She wears a loose black-grey garment with low round neck and long voluminous sleeves. Both hands, in grey and black shadow, are held up to her chest, fingers grasping onto a bundle of grey cloth.

Beneath the bundle at hip level is a bright table, painted as if from above. Its square surface is in creams with dashes of pinkish-oranges. Arranged on top are nine fish, heads and tails in different directions, scales gleaming silver and copper, round eyes staring, lips pursed. On the top right corner of the table is a teacup and saucer with a blue and white pattern.

Audio description written by Lucinda Shawcross and voiced by Marina Neilsen