Hannah Watson1849

by Joseph Backler

Hannah Watson (née Hostage) married Thomas Watson in Kent, England, in 1818 and the couple moved to Australia in 1821. Hannah died in Sydney in 1857.

This portrait is typical of Backler’s approach to portraiture. Possibly because he was a convict, his client base was almost exclusively drawn from the successful working or lower-middle classes. He was rarely commissioned by middle class or establishment families. Despite this, he is perhaps Australia’s most prolific portrait painter in the 19th century. A signature of Backler’s work was his resolute honesty — his portraits never flattered his patrons.