Collection Online
Mount Wellington with Orphan Asylum, Van Diemen's Land

Mount Wellington with Orphan Asylum, Van Diemen's Land

oil on canvas
76.5 × 114.2 cm
Place/s of Execution
Mill Plains, Tasmania
inscribed in pen and ink on canvas label on reverse u.c.l.: Mount Wellington / with the Orphan Asylum . (. underlined) / Van Diemens Land / J. Glover 1837
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Joe White Bequest, Governor, 1981
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display


Original, by William Wilson, Launceston

This frame is a rare example of early Tasmanian frame making and is the earliest nineteenth-century frame in the collection by an identifiable frame maker. The form and decoration of the frame bring to mind the frames favoured by Thomas Lawrence.

The attribution to Wilson rests on the direct similarity between the ornament on this frame and the frame on John Glover’s The Swilker Oak, Clarendon Homestead, National Trust of Australia (Tasmania), Bequest of A. H. Weedon, 1976, which carries the stencil of Wilson on the reverse. The strap-work ornament on the Mt Wellington frame is the same as that on the Swilker Oak frame, inverted.

The dating (c.1843) is based on William Wilson’s likely arrival in Launceston from Hull, England in November 1842 on the Royal Saxon as described in Robyn Lake and Therese Mulford ‘William Wilson: rediscovered Tasmanian framemaker’ Australiana, 23, 1, 2001, p.6.

The cleaning and restoration of the frame was carried out by Noel Turner in the Frames and Furniture Conservation Studio of the NGV. The retrieval of this rare frame took more than 700 hours.

William Wilson
St. John's Street, Launceston, Tasmania

Listed at St John's Street, Launceston, before 1844 in Therese Mulford, Tasmanian Frame Makers 1830–1930: A Directory, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, 1997.

c. 1843

The frame uses fine cast composition ornament on a softwood timber profile. The strap-work ornament sits on a base of cross-hatched netting. The back edge is formed by the addition of a batten. The cushion, which carries the strap-work pattern, finishes well inside the outer dimensions of the frame, giving a prominence to the back edge when the frame is viewed face on. The reverse of the frame has been altered in a previous restoration and detail of the construction of the rebate has been lost. It is likely that the painting was supported against blocks distributed around the back. The frame appears to have been both water and oil gilded.


The frame had been heavily over-painted and over-gilded. It was cleaned and restored in 2005–06. The original surface, though considerably worn, has been retained in the treatment, rather than re-gilded.

101.0 x 139.0 x 5.5 cm; sight 75.3 x 113.3 cm