Knud Geelmuyden Bull (1811–1889), Norwegian-born convict artist, Robert Stevens

Vol 46 no 2, May 2024
Article from Vol 46 no 2, May 2024

Knud Geelmuyden Bull (1811–1889), Norwegian-born convict artist, Robert Stevens


Knud Bull was born in Norway. He trained as an artist and painted in Norway, Dresden, Copenhagen and Stockholm before moving to London in 1845, where he was arrested for counterfeiting and sentenced to 14 years transportation in Australia. Arriving at Norfolk Island, after nine months he was transferred to Van Diemen’s Land, where he gradually gained more freedom and was able to paint. Absconding in 1850 brought him only a month of freedom, but he luckily got his ticket- of-leave in 1852, and married another convict soon after. Bull continued to paint Tasmanian portraits and landscapes,and dabbled in photography. In 1856, he left Tasmania. Robert Stevens continues to follow his life, painting portraits and landscapes, and occasionally getting into trouble with the law, through Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Ballarat and finally Sydney, where he died aged 77.

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The Australiana Society acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.