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  • Title
    Colonel James Nunn, Australian Mounted Infantry, ca. 1840 / attributed to Joseph Fowles
  • Call number
    ML 1321
    Status: On display – Paintings from the Collection, Room 2, North Wall, no. 130
  • Level of description
  • Date

    ca. 1840
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    1 painting - oil on canvas - 60.9 x 43.8 cm. (image) in gilded wood frame 79 x 62.5 cm.

    Nunn arrived in New South Wales with the 80th Regiment of Foot which was garrisoned from 1837 to 1844. In the same year he became the commander of the NSW Mounted Police, and in December 1837, it was reported that Aboriginal warriors had attacked and killed stockmen on properties beyond the limits of settlement in the Namoi River district. Nunn was dispatched with two sergeants and twenty troopers and on 26 January 1838, near the Gwydir River, his party was attacked and a corporal wounded. In retaliation the troopers opened fire and a number of Aboriginal people were killed. The Mounted Police then pursued the Aborigines and engaged them again, killing more. The event is now known as the Waterloo Creek Massacre.

    He was made a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army in 1846.

    The 80th Regiment was sent to India in 1844 and Nunn died at Meerut, 2 February 1847, aged 57. His death and obituary was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, 7 September 1847.

    Sydney Morning Herald
    1847 'COUNTRY SALE.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 7 September, p. 2, viewed 27 October, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12900294
  • Scope and Content
    A full length portrait of Major James Winniett Nunn, of the 80th Regiment of Foot, Commandant of the New South Wales Police, with a landscape of New South Wales in the background.

    Nunn was probably part of the 5th Irish Lancers whose uniform is distinguished by the great flowing green head-piece depicted. He became prominently associated with the 80th Regiment, but is essentially wearing the uniform of the Mounted Police. His sabretache (flat bag) has the `VR’ cypher for Queen Victoria who became monarch in June 1837.
  • Copying Conditions
    Copyright status:: Out of copyright - Creator died before 1955
    Please acknowledge:: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • Description source

    Label on verso of painting.
  • General note

    Digital order no:Album ID : 1269583
  • Signatures / Inscriptions

    No signature.
  • Attributions / conjectures

    Possibly painted by Joseph Fowles. While the painting is not dated or signed, it does depict Nunn in NSW. It is possible that it was painted in England, though the attribution to Joseph Fowles is credible.

    Attribution to Joseph Fowles made by Elizabeth Ellis. 2014 Hordern House catalogue for European Discovery, 1538-1843, p.75, Number 33.
  • Date note

    Date range based on Nunn's arrival in colony in 1837 and his appointment as Colonel in 1846.
  • Creator/Author/Artist
  • Name
  • Subject
  • Exhibited in

    Paintings from the Collection - State Library of New South Wales (2018)
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