The Allport Library and Museum of Fine Art offers visitors an insight into early colonial life in Tasmania. The museum has a series of rooms that reflect the elegance of a past era with mahogany and walnut furniture, display cabinets of Georgian silver and glass and fine English, French and Chinese porcelain. The oil paintings in the colonial gallery give an impression of life on the high seas and the early landscapes of Van Diemen’s Land.
The collection is a rare and extraordinarily generous example of private philanthropy representing tastes and values which in both England and Australia were affordable by relatively few in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The library and art collection are now highly valued and used by researchers interested in early colonial art and culture.
Joseph and Mary Allport settled in Van Diemen’s Land in 1831. They and their descendants played an important role in the artistic, cultural and social development of the colony and the state of Tasmania. Their great-grandson Henry Allport, the last male descendant, bequeathed the collection to the people of Tasmania in 1965 as a memorial to the Allport family.