Natural history

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"Bird of Port Jackson"

Artist: Raper, George
Created: [1789]
Dimensions: 44.4 x 31.8 cm
Reference: Raper Drawing - no. 45


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Drawing of a bird standing on one leg on a rock, surrounded by water. The bird's body is pointing to the right and its head turned to the left, preening the feathers on its back. Its neck and underparts are predominantly coloured with horizontal black and white stripes, except for the throat which is grey, the top of the head which is brown with a white stripe above the eye, and a band of brown across its breast. The wing is brown overlaid with darker hatched lines and black markings, with black primaries barred with chestnut-brown. the rock is grey with some pink patches, and grey-green sea-weed. The water is blue, with a pink tinge towards the horizon, and overlaid with irregular grey horizontal lines, and the sky unpainted. 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 of PORT-JACKSON - Natural Size - GEO: RapeR.# 1789 ~".
  • The drawing is singed "GEO: RapeR" and dated 1789.
  • The drawing is inscribed in pencil at bottom left with the number "45", at bottom right "44", and on the reverse "33".
  • The bird was identified by Hindwood (1964) as the Banded Landrail Hypotaenidia philippensis. ITIS lists the current preferred name for this species as the Buff-banded Rail, Gallirallus philippensis.
  • 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 15145
  • 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.