Flintoff, Thomas (c.1809-91; English)
Sir William John Clarke 1885
Oil on canvas, 149.5 x 118.8 cm (visible image; framed)
Presented by subscribers 1888; transferred from the NGV 1951
State Library of Victoria (H141877)

The sitter, a wealthy benefactor to the NGV and other Melbourne institutions during the later 19th century (for details, see donor entry), is shown here wearing the regalia of the Grand Master of the Victorian Lodge of the Freemasons.

The Latin motto at the top of the lavish frame, Signum quaerens in vellere, means “seeking a sign in the fleece” (alluding to sheep breeding, the source of Clarke’s fortune).


AR 1888, p.38; NGV 1894, p.121 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 6th bay, no.7); NGV 1905, p.146 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 7th bay, no.12)

The SLV’s online catalogue entry includes further information on Clarke