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Captain John Lort Stokes
, c.1841

by an unknown artist

watercolour on ivory (frame: 18.0 cm x 15.5 cm, support: 7.0 cm x 6.0 cm)

John Lort Stokes (1812–1885), explorer and hydrographer, took part in three major voyages aboard HMS Beagle between 1826 and 1843. Assigned to the Beagle at thirteen, he was involved in the vessel’s 1826 to 1830 surveying voyage to Peru, Chile and Patagonia; and – along with Charles Darwin – in its expedition to South America, the Pacific and Australia between 1833 and 1836. During his third Beagle voyage, commencing in 1837, Stokes charted the coasts and waters of areas including the Northern Territory, the Torres Strait, Western Australia and Bass Strait. While in Sydney in 1838, Stokes met Fanny Jane Marlay (1819–1848), whom he married in January 1841. Appointed to the command of the Beagle that year, Stokes continued the survey of the Australian coast before returning to England in 1843. Later, as captain of the Acheron, he conducted the first full hydrographical survey of New Zealand. Fanny died in South Africa while en route to Sydney with Stokes in 1848. Promoted to rear-admiral in 1864, vice-admiral in 1871, and admiral in 1877, he died in June 1885, survived by his second wife and by his daughter from his marriage to Fanny.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2013
Accession number: 2013.24.1