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Convict artist Richard Browne’s Watercolours

National Gallery of Australia - Joy of Museums - Richard Browne's Watercolours

This Folio of seven watercolours by Richard Browne with description by Samuel Leigh depicts historic portraits of local Aboriginal people of the early 1800’s. The folio of letters was composed by Reverend Samuel Leigh in 1821 for his London-based brethren of the Wesleyan Mission Society and the letters were illustrated by Browne’s drawing.

Richard Browne was an early Australian convict artist and illustrator who was transported from Ireland to the  colony of New South Wales in 1811. After his sentence was completed in 1817 he lived in Sydney selling watercolour illustrations of natural history subjects and of local Aborigines. Richard Browne’s Indigenous peoples illustrations employed an exaggerated caricature style which owed much to the silhouette portrait tradition and the stylistic demands of the period.

Among the many masterpieces in the National Gallery of Australia the following are highlights:


Essential Facts:

  • Title:               Convict artist Richard Browne’s Watercolours
  • Artist:             Richard Browne
  • Year:               1821
  • Medium:        Watercolours on canvas
  • Museum:        National Gallery of Australia


Essential Facts about the Artist:

  • Artist:           Richard Browne
  • Born:            1771 – Dublin, Ireland
  • Died:            1824 – Sydney, Australia


” Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.” Australian Proverb



Photo Credits: 1) By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons