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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.

Sarah Simpson

c. 1866
an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (mount: 26.5 cm x 24.6 cm, sheet: 19.5 cm x 16.0 cm)

Sarah Simpson (née Neighbour, 1806–1874) married tinsmith and hatter Alfred Simpson in London in 1838. Ten years later, financial difficulties prompted their emigration to Melbourne, but they disembarked in South Australia, the first English settlers of which had arrived in 1836. In the early 1840s deposits of silver, lead, copper and gold had been discovered in the region; the first vines had been planted, and the first wheat surplus achieved. Arriving on the John Woodhall in January 1849 with her husband and their son Alfred Muller Simpson, Sarah worked as a piano teacher in Adelaide while Simpson essayed various ventures, including two stints on the Victorian goldfields. In 1853 Alfred opened a tinsmithing business in Topham Street, Adelaide, called the Colonial Tinware Manufactory. As it grew, the business produced agricultural implements, pots and pans, and cans for a jam factory. Larger premises on Gawler Place were occupied in 1863 and the following year, coinciding with Alfred Muller’s 21st, the names A Simpson and Son appeared beneath the brand. Alfred Muller’s sons, Alfred Allen and Frederick Neighbour, joined the family business as it expanded in the twentieth century. Alfred outlived Sarah by seventeen years; when she died, at the end of 1874, her daughter-in-law Catherine was pregnant with Alfred Allen Simpson, the future mayor of Adelaide.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2014

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

Sarah Simpson (age 60 in 1866)

Supported by

L Gordon Darling AC CMG (38 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency