Robert Hawker Dowling: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Robert Hawker Dowling (1827 – 8 July 1886) was an Australian colonial artist.

Dowling was born in England the youngest son of Rev. Henry Dowling and his wife Elizabeth, née Darke. He was brought to Launceston, Tasmania later his parents in 1839 in the Janet. He established lessons from Thomas Bock and Frederick Strange, and in 1850 advertised as a portrait painter. In 1856 Dowling left for London partly behind the assist of links in Launceston. He exhibited 16 pictures at the Royal Academy along with 1859 and 1882 and others at the British Institute. Returning to Launceston he afterwards came to Melbourne and painted portraits of Sir Henry Loch, Dr James Moorhouse, Francis Ormond, and others. He went to London over in 1886 but died gruffly after his arrival.

Dowling was a conscientious painter of figure subjects, often scriptural or eastern. He is represented in the Melbourne and Launceston galleries.

On 2 May 2007, one of Dowling’s paintings – Masters George, William and Miss Harriet Ware bearing in mind the Aborigine Jamie Ware – was bought for A$823,500 by the National Gallery of Victoria.

Additional resources listed by the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

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