[Watling Drawing - no. 41 : "Native name Ben-nel-long, as painted when angry after Botany Bay Colebee was wounded" / Port Jackson Painter]

Other titles
  • Watling Drawing Collection Level Description Component Record
  • [Portrait of an Aboriginal man, named Bennelong]
  • [1790 or 1797?]
Physical description
Art original: colour; 20.3 x 17.3 cm.
  • The drawing is inscribed in blue pencil at top right with the number "50", which refers to the pre-1984 numbering system for the Watling Collection.
  • The drawing is annotated in brown ink at bottom "Native name Ben-nel-long / As painted when angry after Botany Bay Colebee was / wounded."
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated.
  • Another version of this drawing by a different artist can be found in the National Library of Australia, Canberra (ref. PIC T2128 NK 144/B). It is inscribed "when angry & (as I suppose) intended to fight at a future period".
  • Bennelong was captured by the British colonists in December 1789, in the hope that he could be trained to act as an intermediary between the colonists and the indigenous people. He left the colony for England with Governor Phillip in November 1792, returning to Sydney in 1795. (ref. Smith, Keith Vincent. <Bennelong: the coming in of the Eora, Sydney Cove, 1788-1792>. East Roseville NSW, Kangaroo Press, 2001.)
  • In Wheeler and Smith (eds.) (1988), R.J. Lampert suggests that the annotation on this drawing may refer to an incident that took place in December 1797 (p.25); Smith suggests an alternative event that took place in December 1790, possibly related to that depicted in Watling drawing number 25 (p.227-8).
  • The author of this catalogue record is Suzanne Stenning.
  • By permission of the trustees of the Natural History Museum (London).
  • Other format: Two sets of transparencies ; held in the Natural History Museum (London) Zoology Library and Picture Library: ; Picture Library order number 12041
  • 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 7, p. 25.)
  • Art & Empire, Tate Britain, 16th November 2015 - 26th March 2016
  • Half-length portrait of an Aboriginal man named Bennelong, framed in tondo with a double black ink border measuring 14.7 cm. in diameter. He is depicted in frontal view against a plain background. His body is decorated with off-white bands that run up his upper arms to his shoulder and down across his chest. His face is painted with a horizontal stripe of off-white across his nose and cheeks, and another near his hair-line (possibly representing a head band), which is faintly marked with a criss-cross pattern. His hair is black overlaid with dull red-brown, and decorated with tooth and bone ornaments. The drawing is annotated in brown ink.
  • Art original.
  • Picture
  • Watercolors
  • English
Cover image
Printed resource
Holding libraries

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Location of copy Shelfmark Online location Holdings Notes
Natural History Museum Library: South Kensington, Zoology Special Collections RARE BOOKS ROOM 228