# 42661

FLOCKTON, Margaret Lilian (1861 - 1953)

Still life with flannel flowers and waratahs, c. 1895

  • Sold

Watercolour on paper, 25 x 33 cms, signed lower right ‘M. Flockton’; framed in museum timber.

A charming study by the highly regarded Sydney painter Margaret Flockton, showcasing the local flora, the Sydney native flannel flower and the State emblem for New South Wales, the waratah. A related painting is held in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

‘A highly regarded natural history illustrator, as well as a painter and successful commercial artist, Sydney-based Flockton worked for a number of years illustrating the works of government botanist and Botanic Gardens director J.H Maiden.Painter, natural history illustrator, commercial artist and art teacher, [Flockton] was born in Sussex on 29 September 1861. She studied at the South Kensington Art School, London, where she learned lithography, and at Miss Gann’s Life School in London. In 1881 she came to Australia with her sister, Mrs Boulton, their parents joining them later. For seven years Margaret worked as a commercial artist for the Sydney printers and publishers Gibbs Shallard & Co. and S.T. Leigh. Then she opened a studio in Victoria Chambers, Castlereagh Street; her biographer, Annette Maclellan, studied painting with her there. She exhibited with the (Royal) Art Society from 1894 until 1901, showing wildflower studies and still-life painting in the Society’s exhibitions. Both were much admired. In 1895 the Art Gallery of New South Wales purchased her watercolour, Australian Wild Flowers: Waratahs (no.3 in a series), for four guineas; in 1897 the Herald critic noted that ‘Miss Margaret Flockton’s still-life studies and flower paintings are better than anything of the same kind exhibited’.

Flockton was ‘discovered’ by J.H. Maiden, Director of the Botanic Gardens and Government Botanist, who invited her to illustrate the book he was then writing, The Critical Revision of the Genus Eucalyptus . Maclellan notes that Maiden kept her ‘hard at work’ at the Botanic Museum for five years beyond the official age for retirement; she also illustrated his Forest Flora of New South Wales . Among much other work, she provided the decorative wildflower borders for the butterfly studies in a booklet by Dr Riches, Scenic Gems of Australia .

Scientific natural history illustration was Flockton’s forte but she also succeeded in a more commercial market. In 1908 her Australian Wildflowers , a booklet of 12 pictures, was published by the New South Wales Bookstall Company. For about 10 years (1909-19) illustrations from it were reproduced both as large lithographs and as postcards in an ‘Art Series’ that appeared in at least five different formats at 1s 5d a set of 12 (with an additional card depicting a New Zealand variety of ti-tree, possibly for distribution in that country). Late in life, when living at Tennyson, near Gladesville, she wrote and illustrated ‘Children’s Stories. Little Stories of Little People by Margaret L. Flockton’, which turned ‘the life-history of plants and insects into a fascinating collection of children’s stories’. It seems to have remained unpublished.’ – Joan Kerr, DAAO https://www.daao.org.au/bio/margaret-lilian-flockton/biography/


Provenance :

Ewbanks Auctions, Surrey, Silver & Fine Art, 16th September 2021, lot 130A

private collection, Melbourne