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  • Title
    Album of 31 original watercolours of Australian fauna, ca.1790 / Sarah Stone
  • Creator
  • Call number
    SAFE/PXA 909
  • Level of description
  • Date

    ca. 1790
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
  • Physical Description
    31 watercolours - on 31 sheets. - Sheet sizes measure 33.8 x 25.1 cm; drawings are within frame lines approx. 23 x 17 cm (roughly equivalent to plate size of engravings)

    In the mid-1980s this collection of drawings - originally numbering forty-six - were offered at a New England (USA) auction. Fifteen drawings from the sale were later acquired by the National Library of Australia (these can be seen on their image database: www.nla.gov.au), while Peter Willcox acquired these thirty-one. In a letter to the Mitchell Library dated 29 July 1998, Mr Willcox described his investigations into the provenance of the collection: 'The Connecticut [USA] auction ... took place in 1986, or soon after ... the watercolours came from the estate or family of James Anderson Junior, an American art collector, b. 1854, author of 'The unknown Turner ... '. New York, 1926.
    The drawings were initially offered in the Peter Willcox Collection of Important Australian Natural History Paintings and Books, Sotheby's Melbourne, 28 November 2000, but were purchased by the Library prior to the sale.
  • Scope and Content
    Drawings in a bound volume are titled from those given in "Journal of a voyage to New South Wales"

    1. Anomalous Hornbill : Signed l.c. Sarah Smith
    Now known as a Channel-billed Cuckoo
    See White: pl.5 p.142
    2. Cyprinaceous Labrus [and] Hippocampus
    Now known as Wrasse or Parrot-fish and Sea horse
    See White: pl.50 p.264
    3. Knob-Fronted Bee Eater : Signed l.c. Sarah Smith.
    Now known as a Friar bird
    See White: pl.16 p.190
    4. Hepoona Roo : Signed l.l. outside frame line S. Smith.
    Now known as a Greater glider possum
    See White: pl.61 p.288
    5. New Holland Creeper
    Now known as a White-cheeked honey eater
    see White: pl.65 p.297
    6. Variegated Lizard
    Now known as a Goanna
    see White: pl.38 p.253
    7. New Holland Cassowary
    Now known as an Emu
    see White: pl.1 p.129
    8. Doubtful Lophius
    Now known as a Frog Fish
    see White: pl.51 p.265
    9. Blue Frog
    Now known as a Green Tree frog
    White: pl.33 p.248
    10. Tapoa Tafa
    Now known as a Brush-tailed Phascogale
    see White: pl.58 p.281
    11. Insects of New South Wales
    Now known as Common centipede, Spider genus Isopeda, Soldier Crab, Caterpillar
    see White: pl.47 p.260
    12. The Scincoid, or Skinc-Formed Lizard
    Now known as a Blue tongue lizard
    see White: pl.30 p.242
    13. Atherine, Tabacco-Pipe Fish, Remora Fish
    Now known as Anchovy, Flute Mouth and Sucking fish
    see White: pl.64 p.296
    14. Yellowed-Eared Flycatcher
    Now known as a Yellow-faced Honeyeater
    see White: pl.10 p.161
    15. Golden Winged Pidgeon
    Now known as a Forest Bronzewing Pigeon
    see White: pl.8 p.146
    16. White Fulica
    Now known as a White Gallinule (extinct)
    see White: pl.27 p.238
    17. Wattled Bee Eater
    Now known as a Red Wattle-bird
    see White: pl.6 p.144
    18. Small Paraquet
    Now known as a Little Lorikeet
    see White: pl.48 p.262
    19. New Holland Creeper
    Now known as a New Holland honeyeater
    see White: pl.15 p.186
    20. Snake No.1
    Now known as a Brown Snake
    see White: pl.43 p.258
    21. Snakes No. 1 & No.2
    Now known as a Young diamond snake & a Bandy bandy
    see White: pl.46 p.259
    22. A Kangaroo
    Now known as a Kangaroo. Possibly by Charles Catton Junr
    see White: pl.54 p.272
    23. White Hawke
    Now known as a Grey Goshawk
    see White: pl.35 p.250
    24. Fuliginous Peteril
    Now known as a White-chinned Petrel
    see White: pl.37 p.252
    25. A Kangaroo
    Now known as a Kangaroo. Appears to be a Sarah Stone copy of a Charles Catton Junr. plate
    see White: pl.54 p.272
    26. Wattled Bee Eater female
    Now known as a Little Wattle bird
    see White: pl.7 p.240
    27. Poto Roo or Kangaroo Rat
    Now known as a Rufous Rat-kangaroo
    see White: pl.60 p.286
    28. A Tapoa Tafa
    Now known as a Dasyurus quoll. Appears to be a Sarah Stone copy of a Charles Catton Junr. plate
    see White: pl.59 p.285
    29. Port Jackson Thrush
    Now known as a Grey thrush [spotted quail thrush?]
    see White: pl.9 p.157
    30. White-Vented Crow
    Now known as a Pied Currawong
    see White: pl.36 p.251
    31. Muricated Lizard
    Now known as a Tree Dragon
    see White: pl.40 p.255
  • Access Conditions
    For access to this pictures collection please submit your request through Ask a Librarian: - -
  • Copying Conditions
    Out of copyright: Artist died before 1955
    Please acknowledge:: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • General note

    This collection contains thirty watercolours by Sarah Stone (ca.1760-1844) and one attributed to Charles Catton Jnr. (no.22). The 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 then 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. After they were prepared for publication the specimens were placed in Sir Ashton Lever's private museum (for further information on this museum and Sarah Stone, see Christine E. Jackson, "Sarah Stone : natural curiosities from the New Worlds", London, 1998).
    Most of the drawings in this collection are either originals for, or presentation copies made after, the plates. Two are signed "Sarah Smith", and one "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 "Journal of a voyage to New South Wales" suggests that at least some of these drawings were made after the publication of the book. 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 voyage to New South Wales", now in the Mathews Collection, National Library of Australia, which was hand-coloured by Stone herself.
    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 is 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. Indeed the engraving combines the foreground detail of PXA 909/22 with the animal depicted in PXA 909/25.
    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.
    Digital order no:Album ID : 823416
    30 of the sheets (not 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 boards, with elaborate gilt tooling.
  • Signatures / Inscriptions

    No. 1 is signed l.c. Sarah Smith
    No. 3 is signed l.c. Sarah Smith
    No. 4 is signed l.l. outside frame line S. Smith

    Willcox collector's label is pasted onto inside front-endpaper.
  • Creator/Author/Artist
  • Subject
  • Topic
  • Exhibited in

    In the garden - Parramatta Heritage Centre
    Nelson Meers Foundation Heritage Collection - State Library of New South Wales (April 2004 - March 2005)

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