National Gallery of Australia Acquire Rare Early Lithograph by One of Australia’s First Female Artists, Mary Allport


Day Gallery recently sold a lithograph by Mary Allport, widely regarded as Australia’s first professional female artists, and the first female printmaker to create etchings and lithographs of the colony in Australia, to the National Gallery of Australia. The lithograph, titled New Norfolk V.D Land was created circa. 1845 and is believed to have been a wedding present for Mary Allport’s niece, Edith Morton Symons, who was residing in England at the time.

New Norfolk V.D Land

c1845

120 mm x 202 mm

Lithograph printed with black ink on paper


New Norfolk V. D Land c1845

Printed from Stone with Black ink

Sheet Size: 191 x 261mm

Image Size: 120 x 202mm

Printed Title in lower margin ‘New Norfolk V.D Land’

Printed signature lower right margin under the image

Inscribed with Ink “ Mrs Chapman” top right margin.

Good stable condition, slight paper discolouration, and mount burn all around the margin surrounding the image.


Mary Allport and her husband, Joseph Allport, sailed for Van Deiman’s land in July, 1831, and landed in Hobart Town on 11 December, later moving to New Norfolk, the third planned settlement in Tasmania, after Hobart and Launceston. In Australia, Mary Allport continued to work on her artistic pursuits and, in 1832, advertised her services painting miniatures. She seems to have been the first woman in the colonies to embark on such an enterprise.

The piece appears to be the only surviving  intact, titled and signed lithograph of New Norfolk by Mary Allport. Very few of Mary Allport’s lithographs have survived to present day. The Allport Museum and Gallery, in Hobart, hold several of her works, and the National Gallery of Australia now hold this piece as well as another titled, Sandy Bay Creek. Of this lithograph, there is one other known copy, which has been cut down to the image and is in the possession of the Allport Museum.

This copy of the work is the full sheet of the lithograph, with the title printed in the lower margin and a printed signature directly under the image.

It is inscribed on the top right margin ‘Mrs Chapman’

Framed c.1870, the back of the frame is also inscribed:

“Drawn and engraved on stone by Aunt Mary Morton Allport, Aldridge Lodge, Hobart, Tasmania, about 1845. Edith Morton Symons.” Edith Morton Symons (b.1846-d.1924) was the niece of Mary Allport, through her sister, Louisa Harriet Chapman.

Mary Morton Allport’s Niece

Edith Morton Symons (b.1846-d.1924) was the niece of Mary Morton Allport. We have found that Mary had two sisters, one Mary Ann Chapman who died the same year she was born in 1805 and another Louisa Harriett Chapman. There are most likely more siblings, which haven’t been identified yet.

Louisa Harriett Chapman (Edith’s Mother and Mary’s sister) married Charles Mucklow in Birmingham, 1st Aug 1833, Mr Mucklow died 5 years late in June 1838. Louisa remarried Feb 27th 1841 to Charles James Hartley. It is on this marriage certificate that states Louisa’s father as Charles Chapman, proving that she was Mary Morton Allport’s sister.

Louisa Harriett Hartley and Charles James Hartley had a daughter Edith Morton Hartley (b.1846-d.1924). Edith married Alfred Symons 25th July 1871, making her Edith Morton Symons the niece of Mary Morton Allport.

 

We speculate that the piece was framed c.1870 and was a wedding present from Mary Allport to her niece, accounting for the wording ‘about 1845’, as it would’ve been frame after Edith was married, and had to think back in retrospect of the date of the work. The signature of Edith Morton Symons is a match to that of Edith Morton on her marriage certificate. On the verso side of the frame is also the framers label, “J.K Edwards & Son. Carvers, Gilders, Picture Framers and Looking-Glass manufacturers, 52 South Street, Exeter. Established 1844”

 

The Allport family played an important role in the colony’s artistic, cultural, and social development within the state of Tasmania, with Mary Allport being a fundamental figure of Australian culture in the 19th century.

Provenance:

Mary Morton Allport, Aldridge Lodge,  Elboden Street, Hobart — the house stayed in by the Allport family until it was demolished in 1968 and replaced by Jane Franklin Hall.

Edith Morton Symons – Possible Wedding Gift to Edith in 1871.

Purchased By Vincent Day from Lawrences Of Bletchingley United Kingdom 2017

Day Gallery. Blackheath NSW 2017

(Compiled with the help of Col Fullagar of Integrity Resolutions)