Natural history

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"Bird and Flowers of Port Jackson"

Artist: Raper, George
Created: [1789]
Dimensions: 45.9 x 32.1 cm
Reference: Raper Drawing - no. 63


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Drawing of a bird perched on a tree stump against a plain background, with details of two flowering plants to left and right. The bird is depicted in frontal view with its head turned in profile to the left. It has a black crested head with two white stripes across its face, a yellow breast overlaid with darker yellow hatched lines, and yellow-brown wings overlaid with grey detail. The underside of the tail feathers are composed of grey hatched lines around an unpainted shaft. The plant on the left has short, narrow linear leaves arranged alternately on a green stem with terminal racemes of small pink flowers, mainly tightly budded but with some open and composed of three petals around a yellow centre. The plant on the right has narrow linear leaves arranged on a slender stem, with flowers which appear to consist of one large blue petal marked with white towards the top. The drawing is framed with a thick black ink line and a triple-banded border, the central band of which is coloured with a pink wash and contains the title, signature and date. Most of the outer band appears to have been lost through the drawing having been cropped.


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  • George Raper]
  • The drawing is inscribed in black ink at bottom "BIRD & FLOWER'S of PORT JACKSON * Naural Size GEO: RapeR.# 1789".
  • The drawing is signed "GEO: RapeR" and dated 1789.
  • The drawing is inscribed in pencil at bottom left and right with the number "63", and on the reverse "67".
  • The bird was identified by Hindwood (1964) as the Eastern Shrike-tit Falcunculus frontatus.
  • John Calaby notes the similarity of the plants in this drawing to two separate drawings in the sketchbook by John Hunter in the National Library of Australia, Canberra. He identifies the plants as the Pyramid Flower Comesperma ericinum and the Slender Violet Hybanthus monopetalus. (Calaby, John (ed). The Hunter Sketchbook. Melbourne, National Library of Australia, 1989 p. 126 and 130.)
  • 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) General Library and Picture Library: Picture Library order number 15163
  • 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.