Drawn in his Cell in Newgate
© Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, LondonNotes
Cuffay's fame in Australia preceded his trial and grew after he was transported to Van Diemen's Land where he quickly became an important figure in the Tasmanian labour and ant-conscription movements. Before the lithographic plate from which the National Portrait Gallery made the print above was the only known image of Cuffay was the one below, an inferior woodblock (and reversed !) reproduction:
George W. M. Reynolds was like Cuffay a leading Chartist and publisher of the 'The Reynolds's Political Instructor' ... The issue above was published on 13 April 1850, a few months after Cuffay's arrival in Van Diemen's Land, where his Ticket of Leave allowed him to resume his trade as a tailor in Hobart. This is a mirror image of the original drawing in gaol by the Irish artist William Dowling.
The cell bars have been removed from the background. This was the only image we had of William Cuffay until the National Portrait Gallery received the original plate made from Dowling's pencilled sketch.