Botterill, John (1817-81; English/Australian)
Sir Redmond Barry
Oil on canvas, 77 x 64 cm (framed)
Purchased, 1892
State Library of Victoria (H5193)

This portrait of Barry, the key figure behind the founding of the Public Library of Victoria and the NGV (see linked entry), appears to be closely related to the portrait commissioned from George Folingsby by the University of Melbourne in 1879, but only completed in 1881, after Barry’s death (University of Melbourne Art Collection).

Folingsby’s portrait shows Barry in his ceremonial robes as the first Chancellor of the University (1853-80). It remains unclear whether the present work, in which Barry wears a mortar board and academic gown, predated Folingsby’s canvas.

Botterill, who appears to have worked mainly as a professional photographer, was one of the main contributors to the “Oval portrait” series initiated by Barry himself in 1866.


AR 1892, p.23; SB, p.398 (noting that it was purchased in July 1892 from J.Hickey, Esq.); NGV 1894, p.121 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 6th bay, no.10); NGV 1905, p.145 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 7th bay, no.7) [£26/5]

For the present work, see also SLV Art of the Collection (2007), p.41 (ill.). For Folingsby’s 1881 portrait, see Jason Benjamin, Finding Sir Redmond Barry,” University of Melbourne Collections 13 (Dec.2013), p.9 (ill.)