Unknown artist [possibly John Wesley Burtt (1839-1917; English/ Australian)]
Sir Charles Darling
Oil on canvas, 76.6 x 63.6 cm
Presented by William A’Beckett, 1890
State Library of Victoria (H17277)

Darling was Victorian Governor from 1863 to 1868; another portrait of him, painted by John Botterillc.1866, was included in the Public Library’s “Oval portrait” series.

Although the present work is described as by an unknown artist (and noted as such in both NGV 1894 and 1905), the State Library suggests that it may be identical with a portrait of Darling by Burtt, included in the first exhibition of the Victorian Academy of Art in 1870. However, this hypothesis is queried by Madeleine Say, in her biography of Burtt for Design & Art Australia Online (2010), on the grounds that the artist was still alive when the work was donated.

For the donor, who also presented Richardson (J.) [after] Sir Richard Steele {1889} NGV [PA], see linked entry.


AR 1889, p.43; NGV 1894, p.122 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 6th bay, no.17); NGV 1905, p.149 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 8th bay, no.13): in each case as by an unknown painter

For Burtt, see http://www.daao.org.au/bio/john-wesley-burtt/biography/ (by Madeleine Say), and AKL 15 (1998), pp.288-89, mentioning Burtt’s painting Batman’s treaty with the aborigines at Merri Creek (c.1888?), also held in the SLV (H92.196)