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"Plan of Arthur's Vale, Norfolk Island"

Artist: Raper, George
Created: [1790]
Dimensions: 49.2 x 30.5 cm
Reference: Raper Drawing - no. 25


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A coloured plan of the agricultural use of Arthur's Vale on Norfolk Island. The plan is titled in a cartouche at centre left, in which the inscription is contained in an oval frame with a red ribbon above pinned to a Norfolk Island Pine Tree, and framed at the bottom by a pair of plants, possibly New Zealand Flax. The chart is bisected by a central vertical line. The area of the Vale and higher ground is outlined with grey hatched lines, ending in areas labelled "NOT CLEARED" at top left and "SWAMP" at bottom right. It is divided into diagonal bands which are coloured pale brown, blue, yellow, pink or green overlaid with a grid of dotted lines, labelled alternately "Bananas" and "Sugar-Cane" and separated from each other by four green lines labelled "Path". A blue line labelled "Rapid Stream of Good Water" crosses the vale from top left to lower right. The grey "Path from the Town" leads from lower left up to "GOVERNMENTS FARM" at centre right (including enclosures labelled "BARN 16 by 30 feet" and "Pigs"), and on towards the "GOVERNORS GARDEN" AND "Poultry Yard 19"" towards the top. The drawing is framed by a single ink line, and includes a "Scale of 10 Chains" at the bottom.


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  • George Raper]
  • The drawing is inscribed with the title in a cartouche at centre left, "PLAN of ARTHUR'S VALE NORFOLK ISLAND as Survey'd in September 1790 To His EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR PHILLIP THIS is Most Respectfully INSCRIB'D by His Humble Servant George Raper". The plan is also labelled in black ink, as detailed in the content description below.
  • The drawing is inscribed rather than signed by Raper and dated 1790.
  • The drawing is inscribed with a "Scale of 10 Chains" at bottom (1 chain = 1.65 cm.).
  • The drawing is inscribed at bottom left with the number "25", at bottom right "24" and on the reverse "53".
  • Raper was stranded on Norfolk Island following the wrecking of the Sirius on 19th March 1790, returning to Port Jackson in the Supply on 11th February 1791. An account of this time can be found in Hunter, John, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island (London, 1793), pp.171-201.
  • The author of this catalogue record is Suzanne Stenning.
  • By permission of the trustees of the Natural History Museum (London).
  • Two sets of transparencies held in the Natural History Museum (London) Zoology Library and Picture Library: Picture Library order number 15125
  • Miss Eva Godman donated 1962
  • Data sheet available.
  • Hindwood, K.A. 'George Raper: an Artist of the First Fleet', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 50, Pt. 1, 1964 pp.32-57.
  • Wheeler, A. and Smith, B, (eds.) The Art of the First Fleet and other early Australian Drawings. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1988 (pl. 131, p. 126).