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Portrait of "Colebee"

Artist: Watling, Thomas
Created: [between 1792 and 1797]
Dimensions: 20.6 x 17.2 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 30


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Head-and-shoulders portrait of an Aboriginal man against a plain background. He is depicted in three-quarters view facing slightly to the right, with his hands resting on a pole held in front of him. His hair and beard are short and neat, and his brow is furrowed, as if frowing. His right shoulder is marked with a cicatrix. The facial features and hands are strongly defined in dark pencil lines, while the edges of the drawing are fainter and more tonal. The drawing is framed by a pencil border, inscribed in pencil with the subject's name, and signed in ink by Watling.


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  • Thomas Watling]
  • The drawing is inscribed in blue pencil at top right with the number "39", which refers to the pre-1984 numbering system for the Watling Collection.
  • The drawing is inscribed in pencil at lower centre with the name "COLEBEE."
  • The drawing is signed in brown ink at lower right "T. Watling, del.", but is undated.
  • The author of this catalogue record is Suzanne Stenning.
  • By permission of the trustees of the Natural History Museum (London).
  • Two sets of transparencies held in the Natural History Museum (London) Zoology Library and Picture Library: Picture Library order number 12030
  • James Lee of Kensington : purchased ; 1902
  • Data sheet available.
  • Wheeler, A. and Smith, B, (eds.) The Art of the First Fleet and other early Australian Drawings. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1988. (Plate 16, p. 32.)