Untitled, possibly Lachlan Macquariec 1805–24

by Unknown artist

Assigning subject and artist to a painting is not always possible. This portrait was given to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Greenhill Gardyne by the widow of Lachlan Macquarie the Younger, and he believed it to be of Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of NSW, painted by John Graham. The Library then attributed the painting to John Opie, as there is a reference to Macquarie sitting for Opie in his journal of 1805.

In 1987, when the portrait was taken out of its frame, a signature was found: ‘J Graham Gilbert RSA’. However, John Graham Gilbert was only 15 when Macquarie left England for New South Wales.

A further complication is that the uniform does not match Macquarie’s rank or regiment. So, although this has often been used as the definitive portrait of Lachlan Macquarie, there are good reasons to suggest it may not be him.