Bryony concentrated on the two portraits of Henry Johnson and Caroline Johnson by Joseph Backler.
Unfortunately not much is known about Henry and Caroline Johnson - were they husband and wife or brother and sister for instance? A quick check of NSW historical records does not throw up any information. As the paintings were done before the Gold Rush it is unfortunate that nothing is known of the figures as they could have been significant members of the small community.
However we do know something of the Artist Joseph Backler. Joseph was an ex convict who after his ticket of leave was granted made his living as an artist. Convicted of being a forger he was transported to Sydney and during his early years in Australia suffered further heavy punishment because he was suspected of further forging activities. But even when he was on Norfolk Island he managed to do several paintings. He was not an Artist who mingled with the art crowd in Sydney, but nevertheless a number of his paintings have survived. He travelled around the colony with a handcart carrying his art supplies advertising his capacity for portraits. His portraits concentrated on showing details of the face and leaving the rest of the portrait with general impressions. It could be that he used props to fill in details of clothes etc. However his portraits do show a certain amount of character and appear to make no attempt to improve the beauty or otherwise of the sitters.
Elsewhere there are other portraits by Clifton Pugh and Albert Tucker that are worth viewing and are valuable assets of the Gallery.