Historical information

The portrait was commissioned in 1884, near the end of Molesworth's term of office. The portrait was commissioned at the same time as those of Redmond Barry and Chief Justice Stawell.
Robert Molesworth, like his contemporaries, Stawell and Barry, went to Trinity College, Dublin, and practiced at the Irish Bar before migrating to Australia in 1852. Molesworth quickly gained a large practice at the Bar. In 1853 he was acting Chief Justice and he later served as Solicitor-General in the early Victorian colonial administrations. Molesworth was appointed to the bench in 1856. He primarily worked in the Equity area, but his main contribution to Colonial administration was as the Chief Judge of the Court of Mines, establishing the basis of mining law in Australia.


The portrait of Molesworth is significant because of whom it portrays and is the only known portrait of Molesworth.

Physical description

Full length portrait in oils of Sir Robert Molesworth. He is seated at a desk and dressed in Judicial robes. The frame is of 20th century origin

Inscriptions & markings

Signed with monogram and dated 1885 lower left. Plaque identifies sitter as The Hon. Sir Robert Molesworth Judge of the Supreme Court. 1856-1886