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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.

Francis Russell Nixon

c. 1845-1855
an unknown artist (engraver) after George Richmond

copperplate engraving, heightened with China white on buff paper (frame: 54.5 cm x 44.2 cm, sight: 29.5 cm x 21.5 cm)

Francis Russell Nixon (1803-1879) was consecrated as the first bishop of Tasmania at Westminster Abbey in 1842 and arrived in Van Diemen’s Land the following year. During his nineteen years in the colony Nixon secured funds to establish the Launceston Church Grammar School and the Hutchins School in Hobart, as well as Christ’s College, the first tertiary institution in Australia. He took an interest in the spiritual welfare of Tasmania’s convicts, and gave evidence at the 1847 House of Lords committee hearing into the transportation system in Van Diemen’s Land. Various issues concerning the role of the church brought him into conflict with Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Eardley-Wilmot and Wilmot’s successor, Sir William Thomas Denison, and he also bought into arguments between High and Low churchmen within the Tasmanian Church of England. A talented amateur artist and connoisseur, he was on the organising committee for the first art exhibitions held in Tasmania in the mid-1840s, and held a solo exhibition of his own watercolour landscapes in 1858. He was one of the first people in Tasmania to pursue photography, and his portraits of Oyster Bay Aboriginal people are well known. Having returned to a living in Yorkshire, he retired to Italy. George Richmond (1809–1896) was a very successful English portraitist, whose papers indicate that he represented more than two thousand sitters. Richmond painted portraits of Francis Nixon and his wife Anna Maria shortly before they left for Van Diemen’s land. George Brown engraved a replica of Nixon’s portrait, to be made into prints that could be distributed to his family and admirers. In 2013, the painted portraits were donated by the couple’s English great-great-granddaughter to the National Trust of Tasmania, to hang in the Nixons’ former home, Runnymede (then called Bishopstowe).

Purchased 2009

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

George Richmond (age 36 in 1845)

Francis Nixon (age 42 in 1845)

Subject professions

Religion

Visual arts and crafts

Related portraits

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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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