James Ebenezer Bicheno arrived in Van Dieman's Land for a position as Colonial Secretary. Active in the artistic community of Hobart in the 1840s and early 1850s, Bicheno was president of the committee formed to plan the Hobart Town Art Exhibition in 1844.
sketcher, natural historian, economist and colonial secretary, was born on 25 January 1785 in Newbury, England. He wrote works attacking the severity of the Poor Laws and the penal system, was elected a member of the Linnaean Society in 1812 and its secretary 13 years later, and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1827. He published papers on the natural sciences, particularly botany, a book on the economy of Ireland, and assisted Sir William Jardine with Illustrations of Ornithology (Edinburgh 1830).
Bicheno was called to the Bar in 1822, but in 1832 went to Wales to become a partner in some iron-works. The venture failed, doubtless leading to his soliciting the appointment of colonial secretary in Van Diemen’s Land. After his arrival in April 1843 Bicheno defended the lieutenant-governors, rejected the colonists’ claims for control of Tasmania’s revenues and wrote a report on the colonial press for Earl Grey.
In 1844 he was president of the committee formed to plan the Hobart Town Art Exhibition which took place in the Legislative Assembly rooms the following year. With G.T.W.B. Boyes , P.G. Fraser , John Skinner Prout and other leading Tasmanian artists, he was a member of the Hobart Town Sketching Club established in the late 1840s. After his death in Hobart on 25 February 1851 Bicheno’s art collection was exhibited (for sale) in a fine arts exhibition at R.V. Hood 's gallery in Liverpool Street, along with the collection of the late John Glover . No drawings by Bicheno himself were mentioned in the incomplete listings given in local newspapers and no extant examples of his work are known.