Natural curiosity: unseen art of the first fleet.

Natural curiosity: unseen art of the first fleet. Louise Anemaat.
Natural curiosity: unseen art of the first fleet.
Natural curiosity: unseen art of the first fleet.

Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2014. Quarto, colour illustrations, softcover, fine copy.

It caused a sensation in eighteenth-century London when the first ships returned from Sydney with their cargo of exotic animals, birds and plants and striking watercolour illustrations. The acquisition, in 2011, by the Mitchell Library of a large number of these watercolour illustrations has revealed much about the early years of the colony. In this beautifully illustrated book, Louise Anemaat uncovers never-before-published works from the artists of the First Fleet, including convicts-turned-watercolourists Thomas Watling and John Doody, and the anonymous 'Port Jackson Painter'. She unravels the complex network of natural history collectors who spanned the globe, eagerly acquiring, copying and exchanging these artworks, from New South Wales Surgeon-General John White to passionate British collector Aylmer Bourke Lambert.

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