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Portrait of a mother, her daughter, and the family spaniel
, c. 1865

by Thomas Flintoff

albumen print photograph, carte de visite

On loan to the National Portrait Gallery

More images of this artwork

Thomas Flintoff arrived in Melbourne in 1853 after a period of time in America. He evidently had some success in Texas, where it was reported in February 1852 that ‘the portraits now to be seen in the studio of Mr. Flintoff, would do credit to any artist.’ ‘The peculiar merit of this gentleman’s portraits is that he in nearly every instance gives you not only the face, but the prevailing characteristic expression.’ After some time in California Flintoff made his way to Victoria, working in Melbourne before heading to Ballarat and opening the ‘Tyne Side Photographic Gallery’ on Sturt Street. Styling himself an ‘Artist and Photographer’, Flintoff promised ‘his many friends and patrons any description of picture or photograph unapproachable in execution and finish, and unequalled in lowness of price.’ In August 1868, following a fire in his Sturt Street premises, he opened a new, improved studio replete with ‘an Operating Room’ that, ‘by a peculiar concentration of light’, enabled him to ‘execute instantaneous portraits, a matter of the highest importance in securing undistorted and life-like pictures of infants and children.’ Around 1872 he returned to Melbourne, exhibiting (paintings) with the Victorian Academy of Arts, in the Victorian Intercolonial Exhibitions (1872 and 1875) and at the London International Exhibition in 1873. Flintoff died at his home in Carlton in October 1891 having accidentally poisoned himself ‘by taking some strong liniment in mistake for cough mixture.’

Private Lender
Accession number: LOAN2018.24.7