Ludwig Becker was a man for all seasons, a painter, sketcher, botanical artist, engraver, naturalist & explorer. Becker was born in Germany and arrived in Australia via Britain in 1851. We are delighted to offer this rare artwork in our Art | Australian & International Auction on Monday 16 November at 6pm. All enquires should be directed to Sally Hardy ([email protected]).

Details of the Work

Ludwig Becker  (1808-1861) Germany/Australia

Jean Jacques von Coll (Johann Jakob Ritter und Edler von Coll) (1814-1852) 1834 Pencil & watercolour on card Signed & dated lower right Inscribed verso: Ritter Edler von Coll/  Regierungsrat zu Wies baden/ im/ Herzoglish Nassau ….(indistinct)/ Meber L Becker 1834 (indistinct) (English translation: Ritter Edler von Coll/ Senior Civil Servant of Weisbaden, of the Duke of Nassau….indistinct)

22.3 x 16.5 cm (oval), 26.8 x 22 cm sheet, framed

The full unedited version of Ludwig Becker’s life and experiences can be found below.

He attended Ludwig Georg Gymnasium, where teachers from Darmstadt Gallery taught painting & where he met Johann Kaup, whose books Gallerie de Amphibien (1826) & Tierreich in seinen Hauptformen Systematisch Beschrieben (1835-37) he helped illustrate. From 1829 he worked as a painter for the publishing firm of Heinrich Ludwig Bronner at Franfurt-on-Main, he studied lithography at the Stadelesche Institut under Peter Vogel & began painting portraits, “none from this period are known”.  (However, JJ von Coll is from this period) From 1840-1844 he went to Mainz & was court painter to the Archduke of Hesse-Darmstadt.  He supported the unsuccessful German liberal revolutions of 1848 & moved to England in 1850 where he read papers to the British Asociation for the Advancement of Science in Edinburgh after which he decided to move to the New World leaving Liverpool for Australia & arriving in Launceston in March 1851. Paying his way by taking miniature likenesses. He remained in Tasmania for nearly two years. In November 1852 he moved to Victoria, spending two years on the Bendigo goldfields & held an exhibition of these works in Melbourne in 1854. In June 1860 he was appointed artist & naturalist on the Victorian Exploring Expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria led by Robert O’Hara Burke, an expedition on which he died on 29 Aprl 1861 at Bulloo, Queensland. Kerr, Joan. ed. The Dictionary of Australian Artists to 1870, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992, pp 59-60

Johann Jakob von Coll was born in Wiesbaden in 1814, the son of Clemens Wenzeslaus Ritter und Edler von Coll & his wife, Maria Christina Theodora Liel. Johann Jakob’s father studied law in Marburg passing his exam in 1802. He was a member of the war council; a member of the war quorum & ruling government. This lineage has been traced back to the year 1390. The family coat of arms is from 1735 & is based on an earlier coat of arms. Nearly all of Johann Jakob’s descendants were lawyers, judges and politicians.

Von Coll had been trained for a career in the Nassau Military, however, in 1841, when he was 27 years old, he l was involved in a duel with a man named Schliter, who was postmaster of Weisbaden. The pistols had been handed out, however, the two men came to an agreement saying that they didn’t know who had really made the first insult. With no further action taken, they shook hands & left the scene. There were many rumors about the termination of this duel, von Coll was afraid for his honor as a military officer. Duke Adolphe of Nassau (1817-1905) advised him to resign from the Nassau Military & to volunteer & serve in the military of a foreign country. Taking his advice, he chose France. The Duke gave him 1,000 Gulden for expenses. After touring Paris for several months, he finally joined the French military. He spoke French fluently & changed his name to Jean Jacques von Coll. He was discharged him due to ill health. Returning home,  the Duke informed von Coll that he had found him a new challenge–“Texas”. He sailed to Texas in 1845, with Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, as the commercial agent for the Adelsverein (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas) . He led the emigrant’s wagon train from the Texas coast to the new colony. He was bookkeeper to the immigration organization, & was tasked with keeping & distributing supplies for the colony. In 1852, he was elected mayor of New Braunfels, however, only served two months as Volker, a farmer, attesting the Adelsverein was a criminal organization challenged  Von Coll who took offense.  Volker attacked him with a knife; grabbed the pistol shot von Coll in the back & killing him. He left a widow, Margarethe Elisabeth Schertz Von Coll (1832-1906) & two small daughters Kathinka (1849-1931), who married future Senator William (Wilhelm) Clemens (1843-1909) & Elisabeth (Bettie) (1851-1930).

Fey, Everett Anthony. New Braunfels: The First Founders, The Sophienburg Museum & Archives, New Braunfels Texas, 1994