born United Kingdom 1827; Australia 1834–57; died United Kingdom 1886
Mrs Margaret McArthur of Meningoort 1856–57
oil on canvas
Purchased with the generous assistance of the Trustees of the Howard Hitchcock Bequest, and with additional support from the Friends of the Geelong Gallery, 2001
Robert Dowling specialised in portraiture: he received numerous commissions to paint pastoralists and their properties. Mrs Margaret McArthur’s dignified portrait is one of the finest examples of Victorian portraiture from the colonial period, suggesting the upright character of the strong Lanarkshire-born Scot.
Mrs McArthur (née McLean) married Victorian pioneer and pastoralist Peter McArthur in Geelong in December 1856. The couple lived at ‘Meningoort’ station near Camperdown where the homestead, cultivated gardens and vast plains were central to the life shared with their ten children.