Item #5000727 Miniature portrait on ivory of Elizabeth Flinders, step-mother to Matthew. FLINDERS, UNKNOWN ARTIST.
Miniature portrait on ivory of Elizabeth Flinders, step-mother to Matthew.

Miniature portrait of Elizabeth Flinders, step-mother to Matthew.
Miniature portrait on ivory of Elizabeth Flinders, step-mother to Matthew.

[Lincolnshire]: c. 1800-1820.

Fine portrait miniature, 70 x 55 mm., painted on ivory backed with card, slip of paper within the excellent original black-lacquered timber frame which measures 120 x 85 mm., ornate bronze suspension loop.

Elizabeth Flinders, Matthew Flinders' "dearest mother"

A charming miniature portrait of Elizabeth Flinders, the much-loved step-mother of the navigator Matthew. No other portrait of Elizabeth is recorded, making this a significant addition to the history of Flinders' immediate family, not least because a small series of affectionate letters from him to Elizabeth is extant.

A charming miniature portrait of Elizabeth Flinders, the much-loved step-mother of the navigator Matthew. No other portrait of Elizabeth is recorded, making this a significant addition to the history of Flinders' immediate family, not least because a small series of affectionate letters from him to Elizabeth is extant.

Matthew Flinders was the son of Matthew senior and his first wife Susannah Ward. Susannah died in March 1783 when Matthew was only nine years old, and his father remarried Elizabeth less than a year later, on 2 December 1783. His second wife was born Elizabeth Weeks (or Weekes) in 1752. The couple are known to have had three children, two of whom survived: Hannah (1789-1847) and Henrietta (1791-1838). Matthew Flinders senior died in 1802: news of his death affected his son greatly, and one of the more moving of his letters is written to Elizabeth from Port Jackson, 10 June 1803. Addressed to "my dearest mother", the letter writes of his pain and sadness on hearing the news, but also continues in the hope "I beg of you dear mother to look upon me with affection and as one who means to contribute everything in his power to your happiness. Independent of my dear father's last wish [evidently of a continuing relationship], I am of myself desirous that the best understanding and correspondence should subsist between us; for I love and reverence you and hope to be considered by you as the most anxious and affectionate of your friends whose heart and purse will ever be ready for your service…" (Brunton ed., Personal Letters from an Extraordinary Life, p. 95). Nor were these idle words, as Matthew remained in close epistolary contact with her for the rest of his life.

The miniature has a sheet of paper written in a nineteenth-century hand setting out the provenance: "Mrs. Flinders. Second wife of Matthew Flinders, Surgeon, of Donington, Lincolnshire. Formerly Miss Weeks and later Mrs. Ellis. She was the mother of Hannah Dodd, my grandmother, & died at Donington in 1841 aged 90. EA." The portrait was acquired by its present owner from a source in the United Kingdom in relatively modern times; until then it had remained in the possession of a distant family relation.

Elizabeth Flinders at the time the portrait was painted looks to be not later than her sixties, quite possibly in her fifties, which would give the portrait a possible date between about 1800 and 1820.

Price (AUD): $45,000.00

US$29,010.08   Other currencies

Ref: #5000727