Portrait of Henry Hopkins

Thomas G. Wainewrightcirca 1845

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
Canberra, Australia

Henry Hopkins (1787–1870), colonial businessman and philanthropist, opened his first shop on Elizabeth Street in Hobart soon after arriving there in September 1822. Having worked as a wool classer in England, Hopkins became involved in the development of the wool trade and is credited with the first export of wool from the colony. He quickly prospered and by the late 1830s had expanded his wool growing interests into Victoria, acquiring properties near Winchelsea, west of Geelong. By the mid-1840s, he was ‘retired from all business, residing in Hobart Town and living on a large independent fortune’. In addition to his various property and mercantile interests, Hopkins served as a magistrate; on the Legislative Council; and as a director of bodies such as the Van Diemen’s Land Bank and the Hobart Gas Company. Instrumental in the founding of Congregationalism in Australia, Hopkins was a generous donor to schools and the church, donating funds for the building of St David’s Cathedral, the All Saints’ Anglican Church and several other chapels in Hobart. On his death ‘at the good old age of 84’ he was described as ‘one of the pioneers of Tasmanian colonisation’.

Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (1794–1847), artist, essayist, fraudster and convict, arrived in Hobart in late 1837 under sentence of transportation for life. Preceded by a reputation for evil and licentiousness, as a convict Wainewright demonstrated a willingness to retrieve something of worth from his ignominious circumstances, his good behaviour and poor health leading to associations with those whose support enabled him to keep working as an artist. During the early 1840s, Wainewright produced a number of portraits for colonial officials, such as his watercolour of Jane and Lucy Cutmear (c. 1842), the daughters of the gatekeeper at the Hobart Prisoner’s Barracks. Receiving a ticket-of-leave in 1845, Wainewright restablished himself as a portraitist, charging four shillings per day for his services, which were sought out by respectable colonists. Wainewright was recommended for a conditional pardon in November 1846 but suffered a stroke soon afterwards. He died on 17 August 1847 in Hobart’s St Mary’s Hospital, established for the ‘labouring classes’ six years earlier by Dr Edward Bedford, who had been one of Wainewright’s most important friends and benefactors.


  • Title: Portrait of Henry Hopkins
  • Creator: Thomas G. Wainewright
  • Creator Lifespan: 1794 - 1847
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date: c.1845 - c.1845
  • Date Created: circa 1845
  • Physical Dimensions: w32 x h38 cm (Sheet)
  • Provenance: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2013.
  • Type: Drawings
  • External Link: Further information
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps