1940. Watercolour on paper 35cm by 52 cm, signed N. W. Cayley. Contemporary frame in a modern mount.
Neville William Cayley (1887-1950), son of the bird artist Neville Henry Pennington Cayley, dominated early twentieth century ornithology in Australia. If there is one bird book the average Australian can name it is 'What Bird is That?', first published in 1931 and continually in print for almost 70 years. In 1940 Sir Edward Hallstrom, the great patron of Taronga Zoo and the leading aviculturist of his day, commissioned Cayley to paint all the Australian parrots. 29 large watercolours were produced and Hallstrom presented them to the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales in 1941. The 28 watercolours (the Ground Parrot/Night Parrot painting was not present) were held by the Society until 1994 when they were sold en bloc. These watercolours are perhaps the best examples of Cayley's work to appear on the market.
PROVENANCE: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.
For a full account of the collection see J. H. Prince, Neville Cayley: his Royal Zoological Society of NSW Collection of Parrots and Cockatoos of Australia. Sydney: Reed, 1980.
Price: $8,500.00 AU