CLAXTON, Marshall (1811-1881)

CLAXTON, Marshall (1811-1881)
son of a Wesleyan minister, was born at Bolton, Lancashire, on 12 May 1811. He studied under John Jackson, R.A., and at the Royal Academy school, and had his first picture in the Royal Academy, a portrait of his father, the Rev. Marshal Claxton, in 1832. In subsequent years about 30 of his pictures were shown at Academy exhibitions. He was awarded the first medal in the painting school in 1834, and obtained the gold medal of the Society of Arts in 1835 for his portrait of Sir Astley Cooper. He afterwards worked in Italy for some time and returning to London gained a prize of £100 for his "Alfred the Great in the Camp of the Danes". In 1850 he went to Sydney, bringing with him a large collection of pictures, but had little success in selling them. While in Sydney he painted a large picture, "Suffer little children to come unto me", a commission from the Baroness Burdett Coutts. In September 1854 Claxton left Sydney for Calcutta, where he sold several of his pictures and returned to England three or four years later. He died at London after a long illness on 28 July 1881. He married and had two daughters, Adelaide and Florence A. Claxton, both of whom were represented in Royal Academy exhibitions between 1859 and 1867.
Claxton was a painter of some ability. His "General View of the Harbour and City of Sydney" is in the royal collection in England, and there are two pictures by him in the Dickinson collection at the national gallery, Sydney. His portraits of Bishop Broughton and Dean Cowper are at St Paul's College, the university, Sydney, and that of the Rev. Robert Forrest in The King's School, Parramatta.
Sir William Dixson, Journal and Proceedings The Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. IX, p. 168; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; U. Thieme, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler; A. Graves, The Royal Academy Exhibitors; The Times, death notice, 4 August 1881.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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