State Library of NSW
Harriet King, née Lethbridge1854
Marshall Claxton had enjoyed reasonable success as an artist in England before leaving for Australia in 1850. He spent only four years in Sydney but was known for his aristocratic style portraits commissioned by wealthy colonial families.
Harriet King, née Lethbridge, was married to Captain Phillip Parker King. Her father-in-law, Philip Gidley King, had arrived with the First Fleet and served as the third Governor of New South Wales.
Absent for extended periods, Harriet’s husband successfully surveyed the Australian coastline between 1817 and 1822, completing the work Matthew Flinders had begun on the Investigator in 1801. From 1826–32 he surveyed the South American coast on the same voyage as Charles Darwin and colonial artist Conrad Martens.
Harriet and Phillip Parker King had eight children. Key Australian colonial families often intermarried. The King and Lethbridge families were further united by the marriage of Phillip Parker’s sister, Mary, to Harriet’s brother, Robert.