Works included in this catalogue
Woolner James Clow 1853 {1891} SLV [SC]
Woolner La Trobe [plaster medallion] 1853 {by 1880?} SLV [SC]
Woolner La Trobe [larger bronze medallion] 1853 {1888} SLV [SC]
Woolner La Trobe [smaller bronze medallion] (1853) [1889] NGV [SC]
Woolner Edward Wilson {1868} SLV [SC]
Woolner Sir Redmond Barry 1878 {1881} NGV [SC]

A foundation member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Woolner set sail for Australia in July 1852, together with fellow PRB member Bernhard Smith (also a sculptor), and the illustrator Edward Bateman. Their departure inspired Ford Madox Brown’s well-known 1855 painting The Last of England, dramatizing the dilemma of emigrants who chose to leave the mother country for an uncertain future in the colonies.

After an unsuccessful stint on the goldfields, Woolner reverted to sculpture, producing some 24 portrait medallions of local worthies before returning to England in 1854. His most important local patron in this period was Governor Charles La Trobe.

Woolner continued to gain Australian commissions on a regular basis during the remainder of his career in England, including the marble busts of Edward Wilson and Sir Redmond Barry listed above. His monumental statue of Captain Cook was installed in Hyde Park, Sydney, in 1879.


For Woolner, especially his Australian work, see (by Marjorie Tipping; ADB vol.6, 1976); Radford, Early Australian Sculpture (1976), text (unpaginated) and cat.nos.66-68;  see also Bénézit 14, p.1075. Caroline Clemente is currently engaged on detailed research on Woolner’s Australian years, under the auspices of the SLV; see also her article, “Thomas Woolner’s Portrait Medallion of C.J.La Trobe,” The La Trobe Journal 80 (Spring 2007), pp.52-64, citing further references

For Bateman, who worked in Australia until 1867, see e.g. Kerr Dictionary (1992), pp.51-52 (entry by Daniel Thomas). In 1861, he designed the floral “initials and finals” included in the Melbourne Public Library’s catalogue, and was also responsible for the Greek Revival decorations in Queen’s Hall (recently restored): refer SLV catalogue for details of these and other drawings by Bateman, including a series of sketches of La Trobe’s cottage at Jolimont (all apparently acquired after 1904/5) 

The ADB also contains biographies of both Bateman and Bernhard Smith. McDonald, Art of Australia vol.1 (2008), pp.148-9, reproduces Ford Madox Brown’s painting