Thursday, 3 March 2011

Fearless Females - Day 1

March 1 — Do you have a favourite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I have a few favourite female ancestors, who for one reason or another I am drawn too. One I have researched quite extensively is Esther Bellasis nee King. Esther was my chosen subject for the Australia Day Challenge. The reason I am selecting her today is because Esther left behind a real contribution to very early Australian history.

This picture is titled " The Carrajan by Mrs Bellasis, Sydney and was painted circa 1803." Esther's story can be read by clicking the link above, but she left this painting in Australia when she left in circa 1802-1803. One question that I doubt I shall be able to answer is why she left it behind? Did she get on the boat and think Drat I forgot the painting?, or was it because she didn't care about it and it was a means to an end, created to fill the hours? Nonetheless, it believed to be earliest known piece of artwork in Australian by a woman.

Which made me think. Esther, although born in the village of Puttenham Surrey in 1770 lived much of her life in India, having married there in 1796. She did spend some time in Australia due to her husband, and Esther died in 1805 in England. So the question is did she paint in England, will there be painting lefts and sitting in the sitting room of a descendant of the King family? or perhaps in the archives at Surrey or maybe even something in India?

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