Gordon-Frazer, Charles (1863-99; British/Australian)
Benjamin Cowderoy 1890
Oil on canvas, 235 x 145 cm
Presented by the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce 1890
State Library of Victoria (H141869)

Cowderoy (1812-1904) was a magistrate and businessman who arrived in Melbourne in 1852, and was elected to the first council of St Kilda in 1857. His grave at the St Kilda Cemetery is marked by a plaque commemorating the fact that he was the first mayor of St Kilda.

The SLV catalogue entry on this work notes an inscription at the base of the frame, indicating that it was donated “in recognition of Twenty-Five Years’ Service to the Mercantile Community as Secretary to the Chamber.”

At the time of writing (July 2019), the painting is in storage and cannot be viewed. The SLV catalogue describes it as follows: “whole-length, full face, balding, muttonchop whiskers, standing with left hand resting on desk, right hand at waist.”

For Gordon-Frazer, famous for his painting Cannibal Feast on the Island of Tanna, New Hebrides, first shown at the NGV in 1891, see linked artist entry.


AR 1890, p.47; NGV 1894, p.124 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 8th bay, no.1); NGV 1905, p.148 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 8th bay, no.4) 

See SLV catalogue for details of this work (not reproduced). Further information on Cowderoy is contained in his obituary, published in The Argus, 3 Oct.1904, see http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/10343302. See also http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/government—colonial/display/33537-benjamin-cowderoy (for his grave)