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Thomas Bock

6 December 2017 — 4 March 2018

This is the first exhibition dedicated to the work of Thomas Bock (c.1793 – 1855) since 1991, and the first ever outside of Australia.

Bock was one of the most important artists working in Australia during the colonial years. Born in Birmingham (UK), he trained as an engraver and miniature painter. In 1823 he was found guilty of “administering concoctions of certain herbs … with the intent to cause miscarriage” and was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. Bock arrived in Hobart, Australia, the following year, where he was quickly pressed into service as a convict artist, engraving bank notes, illustrations for a local almanac, cheques, commercial stationery and so on. An early commission was a number of portraits of captured bushrangers, before and after execution by hanging, including the notorious cannibal Alexander Pearce.

The exhibition presents a selection of drawings, paintings and photographs that demonstrate both his technical skill and sensitivity to a wide range of subject matter. Bock’s portraits of Tasmanian Aborigines, fellow criminals, free settlers in Hobart Town, as well as nudes, landscapes and everyday scenes, providing touching insight into his domestic life.

The exhibition is organised in partnership between Ikon and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 2016