Anna Elizabeth Walker 1840

by Maurice Felton

Society portraitist Maurice Felton staged his first colonial exhibition in January 1840, which may have encouraged Thomas Walker to commission this portrait of his wife, Anna. The Walkers had travelled up to Sydney from their home in Tasmania, early in 1840. The unexpected death of Anna’s elder brother, John Marquet Blaxland in May of that year, extended their stay. 

Anna’s portrait is sombre in mood. Her recent bereavement is signified by her choice of black garments, accessorised with appropriate memorial jewellery. She wears jet pendant earrings and an enamelled mourning brooch — these were often used to house a lock of hair from a deceased loved one.