The Art of the First Fleet

Images of Nature

Lisa Di Tommaso

Features remarkable images from the historic First Fleet expedition, including rare drawings of the local indigenous population and some species that are now extinct or very rare.

ISBN:
978 0 56509296 2
Format:
Paperback
Price:
£12.99
Published:
February 2012
Size:
253 x 216 mm
Extent:
112 pp
Illustrations:
Colour throughout
Publisher:
Natural History Museum

Details

The Art of the First Fleet is a captivating collection of watercolours, washes, ink and pencil drawings created during the time of this historic event. The collection, now housed in the Natural History Museum provides an invaluable record of the wildlife and environment, people and events, as seen through the eyes of the colonists who laid the foundations for the European settlement of Australia.

While images of plants and animals were not always technically accurate, they made a significant contribution to the development of science, allowing experts in Britain to be able to identify and name a large number of new species. The artists’ drawings of the people and culture of the Eora people, the local indigenous population of the area, provide the only lasting visual record of their lives. They remain an invaluable record of the artists’ attempts to make sense and order of this new land.

About the first fleet

In 1788, nearly 1,500 people on 11 sailing ships came ashore at Port Jackson in Australia after a gruelling eight month journey from England. This collection of vessels later became known as the First Fleet, and those who sailed in them were the community who established the first European colony in Australia.

See inside

Look inside this book to get an idea of its content.  

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Author

Lisa Di Tommaso has been an Assistant Librarian in the Library of the Natural History Museum, London for over six years, where she has worked with the Earth Sciences, Zoological and General collections.

She works closely with the Library’s extensive art collection, and particularly its Australian works.

Exhibition

The Images of Nature gallery showcases the Museum's world-famous collection of natural history artworks. 

Prints, watercolours and paintings from eminent natural history artists such as the prolific bird illustrator, John Gerrard Keulemans and accomplished botanical artist, Georg Ehret, feature in the collection. Alongside this historic body of work are modern images created by scientists, imaging specialists, photographers and micro-CT scanners. Highlights among these are tiny, intriguing scientific images of stained-glass-like meteorite slices and a 3D scan of a shark head.

Each year the Images of Nature gallery includes a temporary exhibition of themed artworks. 

Library

The Library of the Natural History Museum is a repository for one of the most exciting and comprehensive collections of natural history literature and artworks to be found anywhere in the world. 

It holds over half a million artworks, comprising one of Britain’s biggest art collections and representing all the great natural history artists, and many thousands of books, including some richly illustrated volumes of great historical significance.

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