Henry F. Stone and his Durham ox, Thomas Flintoff
  • Artist
    Thomas Flintoff
  • Born
    1809
  • Died
    1891
  • Title
    Henry F. Stone and his Durham ox
  • Date of Production
    1887
  • Medium
    oil on canvas
  • Dimensions
    825 x 1229 mm
  • Credit Details
    Purchased, 1979

Thomas Flintoff

Henry F. Stone and his Durham ox

English born photographer and portrait painter Thomas Flintoff arrived in Australia from the United States in 1853.  Drawn to the Victorian goldfields, Flintoff soon established a tent studio in Main Road, Ballarat.  In this and a later studio in Ballarat, Flintoff offered his clientele portraits in either  the old or new mediums.  After the destruction of his second Ballarat  business by fire in 1872,  Flintoff moved to Melbourne where he continued to paint portraits such as this of Henry Frederick Stone, a prosperous butcher and dairy farmer who owned  properties in Essendon and Footscray northwest of Melbourne.

Executed at a time when photography had largely superseded traditional portrait painting, Stone is depicted  alongside his massively proportioned ox. The emphasis here is on the owner's status and prosperity as Stone, who is dressed in a top hat and over coat, points to the oversized bovine. Despite having been painted towards the end of the 19th century, this painting has all the characteristics of the traditional "conversation piece" portrait of the 18th century, except that the subject in this painting is showing off his ox rather than his spouse.