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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Fanny Jane Marlay, c.1841

an unknown artist

watercolour on ivory (frame: 7.5 cm x 6.3 cm, sight: 4.6 cm x 3.5 cm)

Fanny Jane Marlay (1819–1848) came to Sydney with her free-settler family around 1825. In 1838, she met John Lort Stokes (1812–1885), an explorer, naval officer and surveyor appointed to HMS Beagle, which was then engaged in a surveying voyage of the Australian coast. In the course of it, Stokes charted much of what is now the coast of the Northern Territory; gave Darwin its name (after his former shipmate, Charles Darwin); and surveyed the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Arafura Sea, the Torres Strait, the Western Australian coast, and Bass Strait. He and Fanny married in Sydney in January 1841. Later the same year, Stoke succeeded to the command of the Beagle. Their daughter was born in 1842. Fanny returned with Stokes to England in 1843 and died while en route to Sydney again in 1848. Back in England from 1851, Stokes was eventually promoted to admiral. He died at his home, Scotchwell, in Pembrokeshire, in June 1885, survived by his second wife, Louisa, whom he’d married in 1856, and by his daughter from his marriage to Fanny.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2013

Accession number: 2013.24.2

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Fanny Jane Marlay (age 22 in 1841)

Subject professions

Migration and colonisation

Related portraits

1. Captain John Lort Stokes, c.1841. All an unknown artist.

Related information

The Companion

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Madame du Barry, 1791 by Richard Cosway
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Madame du Barry, 1791 by Richard Cosway
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Little women

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmour looks beyond the ivory face of select portrait miniatures to reveal their sitters’ true grit.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.