Dowling, Robert (1827-86; English/Australian)
George Evans (c.1856)
Oil on canvas, 74.5 x 62.0 cm
Presented by Mrs A. Evans, 1886
State Library of Victoria (H17284)

The sitter (1785-1876) was a Victorian pioneer who built the historic homestead of Emu Bottom, Sunbury, in about 1836.

In 1851, the bulk of his squatting run (along with others) was made available by the government for purchase, and was bought by the wealthy landowner W.J.T. (“Big”) Clarke (1805-74). Evans subsequently leased the homestead and remaining land, and moved to Melbourne to run a city hotel.

This portrait is presumed to date from Dowling’s second visit to Victoria from Tasmania in 1856, prior to his departure for England in 1857 (refer linked artist entry for further details regarding his career).

Clarke’s son, Sir William Clarke, donated several works to the Melbourne collection, including another portrait by Dowling: see Dowling after Partridge Lord Melbourne 1884 {1884} NGV [PA].


AR 1886, p.27; NGV 1894, p.124 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 8th bay, no.6); not in NGV 1905 

For Evans, and Emu Bottom (now a reception centre), see and (citing Elizabeth Grove, in Historic Homesteads, National Trust, 1993)

For “Big” Clarke, see e.g.