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Bernhard Smith

(1820-1885), Medallist

Artist of 2 portraits
Bernhard Smith, sculptor and painter, was in London. He joined the Antique School of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1840 and later that year enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. By 1851 Smith had exhibited nineteen works at the Royal Academy and was involved with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He emigrated to Australia in 1852.

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Sir John Richardson, by Bernhard Smith - NPG 888

Sir John Richardson

by Bernhard Smith
plaster cast of medallion, 1842
On display in Room 23 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 888

Sir James Clark Ross, by Bernhard Smith - NPG 887

Sir James Clark Ross

by Bernhard Smith
plaster cast of medallion, 1843
On display in Room 23 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 887

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Karen Mather

18 September 2019, 00:27

Bernhard Smith (1820-1885) was born in Greenwich, England, one of 11 siblings. His father, Lord Henry Smith (1778-1855), was not an aristocrat; his mother was Jane Mary Voase (1783-1845). Like much of his work, in 1847 Bernhard Smith's sculpture portrait of the naturalist, John Gould, was exhibited at the Royal Academy. He was a close friend of Thomas Woolner, and with him, became a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,1848. Dante Rossetti's brother William was a particular friend, who sketched Bernhard in 1890 (5 years after the artist's death in Australia). Smith went with Thomas Woolner and Edward La Trobe Bateman in 1852 to join the gold rush in Victoria, Australia. For a time he joined his brother, ex-RN Captain Alexander John (1812-1872) who was already in the goldfiields, in Castlemaine, working as a commissioner. The primitive, tough life finally destroyed Bernhard Smith's health. He died of pneumonia, 7 October, 1885, leaving a wife, Olivia nee Boyes, and 9 children. The Smith brothers' stories are told in detail by Ramsland, "From Antarctica to the Goldfields", 2011.

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