Natural history

Image 26 of 508
  previous page next page

"Bird of Port Jackson"

Artist: Raper, George
Created: [1789]
Dimensions: 45.5 x 32.8 cm
Reference: Raper Drawing - no. 39


hide detailed image description

Drawing of a bird in left profile perched on a tree stump against a plain background, with a detail of a flowering plant to the left. The bird's head and bill are painted with a black wash, and it has a knob at the base of the upper mandible and a brown 'brush' tongue. The bird is otherwise grey overlaid with darker hatched lines, except for the feathers of the throat and upper breast which are white and individually detailed. The tree stump is pale brown, overlaid with grey-green stippled marks and grey and brown brush marks, shaded to the left. The plant detail to the left has narrow, linear green leaves arranged in whorls of three on a brown stem, with terminal clusters of red, upright and tubular red flowers. 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.


hide notes

  • George Raper]
  • The drawing is inscribed in black ink at bottom "BIRD of PORT JACKSON Natural Size GEO: RapeR.# 1789 ~".
  • The drawing is signed "GEO: RapeR" and dated 1789.
  • The drawing is inscribed in pencil at bottom left with the number "39", at bottom right "38", and on the reverse "39".
  • The bird was identified by Hindwood (1964) as the Noisy Friarbird or Leatherhead, Philemon corniculatus. The plant was identified by John Calaby in Wheeler and Smith (1988) as the Honey Flower Lambertia formosa.
  • 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 15139
  • 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. 219, p.207).