Natural history

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"Bird and Flowers of Port Jackson"

Artist: Raper, George
Created: [1789]
Dimensions: 45.7 x 31.8 cm
Reference: Raper Drawing - no. 52


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Drawing of a bird in a landscape, with details of two flowering plants. The bird is depicted in frontal view with its head turned in profile to the right. It has a yellow bill and wattles on the face, black cap and side of neck, and white underparts overlaid with grey hatched lines. The wings and back are brown overlaid with darker hatched lines, and have yellow spurs at the 'wrist'. The legs are striped with mauve and black. It is standing on ground which appears to be steeply sloping and is represented by layers of grey-green washes with details of tufts of grass. To the left is a single blue daisy-like flower with a yellow centre, borne on a slender green stem with two narrow elliptic leaves towards the base and casting a shadow to the left. The plant on the right has small arrow-shaped leaves on long stems arranged alternately on a slender main stem. The flowers are pink and composed of five petals which alternate with five green sepals around a yellow centre dotted with pink. 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 the bottom "BIRD & FLOWER'S 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 "52", at bottom right "51", and on the reverse "5".
  • The bird was identified by Hindwood (1964) as the Spur-winged Plover, Lobibyx novaehollandiae.
  • John Calaby notes the similarity of the bird and both plants in this drawing to three separate drawings in the sketchbook by John Hunter in the National Library of Australia, Canberra. He identifies the plant on the left as the Grassland Daisy, Brachycome angustifolia, but the one on the right remains unidentifiable. (Calaby, John (ed). The Hunter Sketchbook. Melbourne, National Library of Australia, 1989 p. 56, 90 and 94.)
  • 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 15152
  • 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.