Natural history

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"Gold-winged Bee-eater", native name "Goo-gwar-ruck"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 38.9 x 26.1 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. LS15


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Bird perching on a branch of a tree stump. It is depicted in back view, with its head turned in profile to the right, with its wings slightly raised and its tail fanned. The tree is white with grey shading to the left and overlaid with grey and black serpentine lines, with some green foliage. It is standing on a base composed of a grey-green wash with tufts of grass. The bird is predominantly brown in colour overlaid with black hatched lines and grey tips to some of the feather on the back, wings and tail, and orange patches on the wings. The drawing is framed by a pencil border and annotated in pencil and brown ink, and has a separate sheet of notes attached to the mount below the drawing.


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  • Port Jackson Painter]
  • The drawing is annotated in brown ink at lower left "Native name, Goo-gwar-ruck Natural size. it lives on Flies, Insects and sucking Honey from the Banksoo's &c".
  • The drawing is annotated in pencil at top "Lambert Drawing I.33". This refers to a related collection of drawings from the collections of the 13th Earl of Derby, held in the Library at Knowsley Hall, Lancashire.
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated.
  • The drawing has been annotated in brown ink at upper right with the number "90.". This refers to the catalogue list compiled by John Latham c. 1801 which was acquired with the drawings, and is filed with them at the end of the Watling Drawings series.
  • The drawing is annotated in pencil at top "Gold winged B. Eater Sup. 2. 153". This has been copied in brown ink at lower left "Gold winged Bee eater Lathams Syn Suppt 2. p. 153." The page reference is to Latham's Second Supplement to the General Synopsis of Birds (1802).
  • This bird has more recently been identified as the Little Wattle-bird, Anthochaera chrysoptera in Hindwood K. A. (1970).
  • A separate sheet of laid paper, measuring 10 x 22 cm. and watermarked with a design which incorporates a crown above a shield containing a horn, is mounted below the drawing. It is inscribed in pencil at top right with the number "90.", and in brown ink "Native name Goo gwar ruck - This Genus of Flycatcher are very numerous in N.S. Wales and seldom seen but near the Sea Shores especially about where the Natives resort - Its a most active lively Bird constantly in action either sucking Honey, taking Flies, or contending with other Birds - Two or three these kind will rout a flock of the Blue bellied Parrots, a genus which they are often engaged with - ".
  • 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 reference number 12515
  • John Lee of Kensington : purchased ; 1902
  • Data sheet available
  • Latham, John. Supplement II to the General Synopsis of birds. London: Leigh, Sotheby, 1802.
  • Hindwood K. A. 'The "Watling" drawings with incidental notes on the "Lambert" and the "Latham" drawings', Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales for the years 1968-69 (1970).