Francis Greenway

The mock trial

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English-born architect Francis Greenway created two paintings based on his experience awaiting trial for forgery in Newgate Prison, in Bristol.

Sentenced to transportation to the colony of New South Wales, he was later appointed by Governor Lachlan Macquarie as Australia’s first Government Architect. His buildings were much admired and include St James’ Church on Sydney’s Phillip Street, Hyde Park Barracks and the Sydney Conservatorium on Macquarie Street, originally the Government Stables.

Greenway has depicted the Newgate prisoners engaged in a mock trial. The judge, seated in the centre, presides over the court flanked by makeshift jury, lawyers and defendant. In the foreground on the left, a prisoner wearing blue tailcoat is momentarily distracted by someone poking at his ear while another prisoner, possibly a crouching child, steals his pocket watch.