Jenny, Wife of Timmy, Native of Port Sorell, c. 1837–43
Watercolour and graphite
Thomas Bock’s watercolours of native people were made in Tasmania itself, some of them for Lady Jane Franklin, the governor’s wife. They are intimate, sympathetic portraits of named people, very different from the racist images—expressions of a brutal historical encounter—that can be found in photographs of Tasmanians a generation later. Yet Bock’s watercolours were themselves later photographed for circulation as scientific documents, records of a 'dying race.' In The Descent of Man, Darwin described the demoralisation, sickness, and dramatically falling birthrate of Tasmanian people under the British imperial regime. By 1869, 'three elderly women alone survived.'
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.