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1801 - 1878

1801, London – 1878, Sydney

Conrad Martens, the son of German merchant Christoph Martens and Englishwoman Rebecca Turner, studied art before leaving England on the HMS Hyacinth in 1832. He left the ship at Rio de Janeiro, travelling to Montevideo, Uruguay, where, in 1833, Martens replaced Augustus Earle as the artist on the survey voyage of the HMS Beagle, captained by Robert FitzRoy. During the two-year voyage, he became close friends with Charles Darwin. His contract ended at Valparaiso, Chile, and he transferred to the Peruvian, which was headed for Tahiti. In March 1835, Martens sailed for Sydney. A prolific painter who travelled extensively, Martens sketched landscapes and seascapes throughout New South Wales and Queensland. His acclaimed work ensured he was highly sought after, both for commissions and as a teacher. In 1835, Martens arrived in Sydney, set up a studio and started taking on pupils. He married in 1837 and supported his wife and two children solely from his painting until 1863, when he took up the post of parliamentary librarian in Sydney, a position Martens held until his death in 1878.

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ESSAY: Martens’s Forest, Cunningham's Gap

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