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Maurice Felton

1803 – 1842

Maurice Appleby Felton (1803-1842) arrived in Sydney with his wife and four children in late 1839 as surgeon to the immigrant ship the Royal Admiral. Although listed in July of the following year as one of the colony's 'duly qualified medical practitioners', Felton had also by this time established himself as a portrait painter. In January 1840, Felton exhibited examples of his paintings at a shop on George Street. This led to an acquaintance with the merchant and arts patron Alexander Brodie Spark. In September 1840, 'Mr Felton, Surgeon, top of Hunter Street' impressed the Sydney Herald with his 'fine, life size portrait of Her Majesty Queen Victoria' - a copy of the portrait by Thomas Sully, which Felton had seen in England. In December 1840, The Colonist recommended that 'lovers of the fine arts pay a visit to Dr. F's rooms in Hunter Street, and they will have the pleasure of ... recognising the likenesses which are in various stages of execution in [his] exhibition.' His talents as an artist being 'highly appreciated', Felton created portraits of a number of Sydney identities between this time and his unexpected and unexplained death, aged 40, in March 1842. Among the sitters depicted by Felton are Spark's wife, Frances Maria; pastoralist John Marquett Blaxland, his mother Harriott and sister, Anna Elizabeth Walker; Sophia O'Brien, the wife of newspaper proprietor; and Felton's friend and fellow artist, Conrad Martens. Felton's works are held in a select number of collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia and the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Updated 2018