Portrait sees “founding father” of Australia return home to Bath

Portrait sees “founding father” of Australia return home to Bath

Published 24th March

The Victoria Art Gallery – run by Bath & North East Somerset Council – is to display Francis Wheatley’s portrait of Admiral Arthur Phillip, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, from Wednesday 26 March for 12 months.

See details here.

Phillip spent his whole career in the Royal Navy, as an officer and – as some would have it – a naval spy. After many campaigns and expeditions, he landed in Australia at Port Jackson in January 1788 where he founded the first convict settlement, which later became the city of Sydney.

As the first Governor of New South Wales, Admiral Phillip (1738-1814), is regarded as the founder of modern Australia. He retired in 1805 to a house in Bennett Street, Bath. The loan of the portrait marks the bicentenary of his death and his close connections with the Bath area. His grave is located at St Nicholas Church in Bathampton.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud to commemorate Admiral Phillip’s bicentenary with this marvellous portrait at the Victoria Art Gallery. Admiral Phillip may not be so well known in the UK but is a household name in Australia as the founder and first Governor of New South Wales and, informally, the ‘father of Australia’.”

The loan of the painting from the National Portrait Gallery has been made possible by the provision of insurance through the Government Indemnity Scheme. Bath & North East Somerset Council would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.

 

 

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The organisations shown have all committed to supporting this year’s events. Many thanks to them.

Commonwealth Bank Australia, CPA AustraliaEtihadCA ANZ,
Godiva ChocolatierTait Memorial Trust and Vestey Foods Group.