Sydney Mortimer Laurence (Sydney Mortimer Laurence)

Sydney Mortimer Laurence

Artist. Famous for painting and photographing the Alaskan wilderness. Struggling and needing money, he decided in 1904, at the age of 38, to try the hard life of a pioneer prospector and joined the crowd seeking gold and riches in Valdez, Alaska. He painted little in his first years in the territory, instead prospected for gold in summers and worked as a photographer in the winter. Between 1911 and 1914 he began to focus once again on his art. He moved from Valdez to the budding town of Anchorage in 1915 and in a few years became Alaska’s most prominent painter. Born of English parents in Brooklyn, New York, he had some art success before venturing to Alaska. He spent many years in Europe, attending art school, living and painting in Paris. He covered the Boar war in South Africa as a photographer, then the Boxer Rebellion in China as an artist for a British publication and had several paintings accepted by the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Later years in Alaska were spent summer sketching and then returning to either Los Angeles or Seattle to escape the cruel Alaskan winters where he would complete the paintings.  While at the Anchorage Hotel where he had a studio in the Lobby and lived upstairs in an apartment, he died at the age of 74 and it was decided burial would be appropriate in the old pioneer cemetery in downtown Anchorage near the mountains, streams and rivers he loved.  A downtown walking tour of historic sites in Anchorage features a stop at his burial site which displays an unusual replica of an artist’s palette headstone. (bio by: Paul S.)


  • October, 14, 1865
  • USA


  • September, 09, 1940
  • USA


  • Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery
  • Alaska
  • USA

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