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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.

Sir John Franklin

c. 1846
Theresa Walker after David D'Angers

cast wax (frame: 19.0 cm x 17.0 cm, 9.0 cm x 6.5 cm)

Sir John Franklin (1786–1847), explorer and governor, served under Matthew Flinders on the Investigator in 1802–1803 and was signal midshipman on the Bellerophon at Trafalgar in 1805. In 1818 he made his first Arctic voyage, a fruitless expedition to locate a ‘Northwest Passage’ between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He ventured to the Arctic again in 1819, leading a three-year expedition across Canada, following which he became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. From 1824 to 1828 he led another expedition to the region which was rewarded with a knighthood, an honorary doctorate from Oxford, and the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society of Paris. After 30 years’ naval service, he accepted an appointment as lieutenant-governor of Tasmania, arriving in Hobart in 1837. Franklin, his second wife Jane and his private secretary Alexander Maconochie brought progressive ideas about the cultural growth of the colony and the reformation of the penal system, but powerful colonists, enjoying convict labour, harried him until he was recalled in 1843. Franklin disappeared on his final expedition to the Arctic in 1845. His widow sponsored four expeditions to find him before it was established that he and all of his crew had perished.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Theresa Walker (age 39 in 1846)

David D'Angers

Sir John Franklin (age 60 in 1846)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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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.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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