Natural history

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"Parroquet and Flower of Port Jackson"

Artist: Raper, George
Created: [1789]
Dimensions: 42.8 x 33.1 cm
Reference: Raper Drawing - no. 51


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Drawing of a bird perched on a tree stump against a plain background, with a detail of a flowering plant to the right. The bird is depicted in left profile and is predominantly coloured in shades of green tending towards yellow underneath with red patches on the chin, face and wing, overlaid with darker hatched lines and dotted crescent-shaped lines on the upper parts. The feathers of the wing are individually detailed, with black primaries edged with yellow. The tree stump is coloured with a pale grey-brown wash overlaid with darker contour-like brush marks, shaded to the right and set on a patch of ground represented by a pale brown wash overlaid with brown and grey serpentine brush marks. the plant has a blade-like leaf sheathing a brown stem with a terminal raceme of blue flowers. The flowers each have six petals which are slightly speckled, arranged around a centre which is black with yellow dots above and white with red dots below. The underside of the petals, or sepals, are striped with magenta and white. 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 "PARROQUET and FLOWER 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 "51", at lower right "50", and on the reverse "4".
  • The bird was identified by Hindwood (1964) as the Swift Parrot, Lathamus discolor.
  • John Calaby notes the similarity of the plant in this drawing to one in the sketchbook by John Hunter in the National Library of Australia, Canberra. He identifies the plant as the Dotted Sun Orchid Thelymitra ixioides. (Calaby, John (ed). The Hunter Sketchbook. Melbourne, National Library of Australia, 1989 p. 118.)
  • 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 15151
  • 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.