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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Portrait of George Selth Coppin

c. 1895-1899
Tom Roberts

oil on cedar panel (frame: 73.0 cm x 45.0 cm, support: 61.2 cm x 34.1 cm)

George Coppin (1819–1906), comedian, entrepreneur and politician, cut his teeth in the world of the English itinerant theatre. Arriving in Sydney in 1843, he performed across the country before opening a theatre in Adelaide in 1846. His commercial holdings increased over the next few years, but in 1851 he lost his fortune. Through performing on the goldfields, he rebuilt a portfolio of theatres and hotels. In 1858 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council, but after five years, in serious debt, he resigned and returned to tread the boards. In 1874 he became a member of the Legislative Assembly; he held this post intermittently to 1888, after which he returned to the Council. Victoria’s first Freemason Grand Master, he energetically promoted reforms and innovation in the municipal sphere, including copyright legislation, the establishment of Post Office Savings banks, the St John Ambulance Society, the Old Colonists’ Association, the Dramatic and Musical Society, and the development of Sorrento as a tourist destination.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds donated by Mary Isabel Murphy 2004

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Tom Roberts (age 39 in 1895)

George Selth Coppin (age 76 in 1895)

Supported by

Mary I. Murphy (4 portraits supported)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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