An almost-lifesize vintage portrait photograph of Sir James Hurtle Fisher (1790-1875), 'one of the most important pioneers of South Australia' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). Sir James Hurtle FISHER.
An almost-lifesize vintage portrait photograph of Sir James Hurtle Fisher (1790-1875), 'one of the most important pioneers of South Australia' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography')

An almost-lifesize vintage portrait photograph of Sir James Hurtle Fisher (1790-1875), 'one of the most important pioneers of South Australia' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography')

The very fine portrait (visible image size 545 × 395 mm, in its original ornate gilt frame, external dimensions 740 × 595 mm) is exquisitely hand-painted and signed by the famous colonial photographer, Townsend Duryea (1823-1888). His original label is affixed to the paper backing on the verso of the frame ('T. Duryea, Artist Photographer, 66 and 68 King William Street, Adelaide'), and in our opinion, he has created a masterpiece as both artist and photographer with this work. James Hurtle Fisher commenced practice as a solicitor in London in 1816 and 'was drawn into the colonizing movement in 1835.... [He] was selected as resident commissioner, one of the most important offices under the South Australian Act ... second only to the governor'. Fisher 'left England in July 1836 with the governor's party in the "Buffalo", arriving on 28 December 1836 at Holdfast Bay, where the official oaths were administered, a proclamation was read and a ceremony marked the beginning of settlement. In January 1837 Fisher erected his reed hut and Land Office near the survey camp of Colonel William Light at the north-western corner of the new capital site; the destruction of these temporary buildings by fire on 23 January 1839 caused both men serious loss. Fisher had been allowed to draft his own instructions, which were not shown to Governor [Sir] John Hindmarsh. Disputes between the two men over their respective powers had begun on the voyage and were soon revived in the new Council of Government, and more violently outside, and led in February 1837 to the Resident Magistrate's Court binding the participants over to keep the peace towards each other.... The new governor, George Gawler, was appointed both governor and resident commissioner, a radical departure from the principles on which the colony had been founded' (ADB). Fisher returned to his profession, and became a leader of the South Australian Bar. In October 1840 he was elected first mayor of Adelaide; in 1860 he became the first resident South Australian to be knighted. Townsend Duryea was at the King William Street address from 1858 until his illustrious career as a photographer 'was cut short when his studio and entire collection of 50,000 negatives were destroyed by fire on 18 April 1875' (ADB). We suggest as a date for this magnificent portrait 'circa 1870'.

Item #108073

Price: $25,000.00