Gregory, George (1849-1938; English), after Grant, James (1772-1833; English)  
The “Lady Nelson” 1879
Oil on canvas, 35.0 x 52.3 cm (sight)
Gift of Commodore Wilson, R.N., 1880 
State Library of Victoria (H17009)

The 1894 and 1905 NGV catalogues, both simply listing this work as by G.Gregory, explain that the vessel shown was the one in which Acting-Lt John Murray discovered and entered Port Phillip Heads in February 1802. The current SLV catalogue lists the authorship of the painting as shown above, noting that it is signed and dated in black paint at lower right: “Geo.Gregory, Cowes, 1879.” The SLV catalogue also notes that the painting is clearly based on the engraving published as the frontispiece of Lt James Grant’s Narrative of a voyage of discovery, performed in His Majesty’s vessel the Lady Nelson (1903), showing the ship in the Thames.

In 2023, I received confirmation of these details from Trevor Armstrong, a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, undertaking research into marine painting in Australia in the period 1840-90. His expert opinion is that the present painting is consistent with the refined oeuvre of the George Gregory noted above, and that it was presumably commissioned from him after the engraving in Grant’s book.

NB in my previous entry on this painting, I mistakenly attributed it to either George Frederick Gregory, Senior (c.1824-87), originally from Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, but documented as working as a marine painter in Melbourne from 1854 onwards; or his son G.F.Gregory, Junior (1857-1913), who grew up  in Melbourne, and is documented as an independent marine painter in South Australia from 1888-95.


AR 1880, p.74; NGV 1894, p.116 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 3rd bay, no.55); NGV 1905, p.135 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 3rd bay, no.62) 

See SLV catalogue for details and photo as shown here. For additional information, as noted, I am grateful to Trevor Armstrong, May 2023 (email correspondence).

For the Melbourne Gregory family painters mentioned, see Alexander Ibels, “George Frederick Gregory Jr (1857-1913),” The Great Circle: Journal for the Australian Association for Maritime History, vol.33, no.2 (2011), pp.23-42 (available online); Elaine Meehan in Kerr Dictionary (1992), pp.322-23 (for G.F.Gregory Senior); and AKL 61 (2009), p.372, for entries on both G.F.Gregory Senior and Junior, by R.Smith; further examples (by both father and son?) are listed in the catalogue of the State Library of NSW

For John Murray, see (biography by Vivienne Parsons; from ADB vol.2, 1967)