In 2004 a painting depicting four children of Joseph Tice Gellibrand (1792-1836), Tasmania's first Attorney-General, was donated to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Unsigned and undated, the painting is known as the Four Children of Joseph Tice Gellibrant and is conjectured to be the work of English-born itinerant artist Augustus Earle (1793-1838). Earle is known to have visited Van Diemen's Land in 1825, when Joseph Tice Gellibrand and his wife Anne had only three of their eventual nine children. This paper explores the possibility that the painting was created during Earle's little-known second visit to the colony in 1828, by which time five of the Gellibrand children had been born. The paper documents the attempt to definitively attribute Four Children of Joseph Tice Gellibrant to Earle, and to ascertain the identity of the four children depicted. The investigation detailed in the paper include a conservation examination of the painting, an exploration of archival sources relating to Earle's visits to Van Diemen's Land and the biographies of the Gellibrand children.
Augustus Earle, Van Dieman's Land, colonial portraiture, Georgian children's costuming, attribution, Joseph Tice Gellibrand (father), Anne Gellibrand, Thomas Lloyd Gellibrand, Eliza Tice Gellibrand, Joseph Tice Gellibrand (son)