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Title: Album of 31 original watercolours of Australian fauna, c. 1790 / Sarah Stone

Creator: Stone, Sarah

Location repository: State Library of New South Wales

Repository work id number: PXA 909

Title type: repository

Attribution qualifier:


Culture: British

Descriptive note: 31 watercolour drawings on 31 sheets. All except no. 22 are heavily sized. Each drawing is surrounded by a thin wash frame line. Tipped, with interleaving, probably in the late-1980s, into early nineteenth-century full calf cards, with elaborate gilt tooling. Willcox collector's label is pasted onto inside front- endpaper. In the mid-1980's this collection of drawings - originally numbering forty-six- were offered at a New England (USA) auction. Fifteen were later acquired by the National Library of Australia, while Peter Willcox acquired these thirty-one. These drawings relate closely to the engravings in John White's "Journal of a voyage to New South Wales", published in London in 1790. White, the colony's Surgeon General, sent a collection of natural history specimens to England in mid-1789 which were the prepared for illustration by five London artists (Frederick Nodder, Charles Catton Jr., Edward Kennion, Mortimer and Stone) by December 1789. Sarah Stone was responsible for the original drawings for forty-nine of the sixty-five plates. The book was edited by Thomas Wilson, who arranged for leading English naturalists Dr George Shaw, Dr James E. Smith and Dr John Hunter to describe the specimens. Most of the drawings in this collection are either originals for, or presentation copies made after, the plates. Two are signed "Sarah Smith" and another "S. Smith". Stone married John Langdale Smith on 8 September 1789. The fact that plates such as the "CAssowary of New South Wales" (PXA 909/7) is a near identical copy to the engraving in White's text suggests that at least some drawings were made after publication. However they have been made with reference back to the original specimens as the drawings always depict more detail than the engravings, particularly in the texture and construction of fur and feathers. Thirty of the drawings are on a heavily sized paper characteristically used by Stone, and their colouring and technique is very close to a copy of " "Journal of a voyage to New South Wales", now on the Mathews Collection, National Library of Australia, which was hand-coloured by Stone. Only one drawing (PXA 909/22 "Kangaroo") is on unsized paper, and this drawing has been attributed to Charles Catton Jnr. However the engraving in of the kangaroo in "Journal of a voyage to New South Wales", with a "C. Catton Junr delin" imprint, relates more to no.25 of this album, which appears to be by Stone and is on her characteristic sized paper. It is likely that this drawing is a copy by Stone of the Catton plate. This collection is described in the Peter Willcox Collection of Important Australian Natural History Paintings and Books, Lot 8, Sotheby's Melbourne 28 November 2000,


Earliest date: c. 1790

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Language: English

Latest date: c. 1790

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Materials techniques: watercolour

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Measurements: Sheet sizes 33.8 x 25.1 cm Within frame lines approx. 23.0 x 17.0 cm

Object work type: drawing


Record source: PICMAN Catalogue (online)

Record type: collection

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