Sarah Stone (1760 - 1844)

Known as Sarah Smith or Sarah Stone, she was the daughter of a professional fan painter and worked as a natural history illustrator in England between 1777 and 1820. Like many British artists she never travelled to the Southern Hemisphere, although she is best known for her depictions of Australian subjects.

Stone was commissioned by some of the great eighteenth-century collectors, including Sir Ashton Lever and Sir Joseph Banks, to prepare watercolour drawings based on specimens of animals, birds and objects brought back to England by members of recent voyages of exploration. In many cases her drawings were the first studies of certain natural history species, a fact which makes them of considerable scientific interest. Some of her watercolours recording the collections of artefacts and natural history gathered on the voyages of Captain James Cook are among the treasures of the Australian Museum in Sydney and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. As Miss Stone, ‘Honorary Exhibitor’, she exhibited four paintings at the Royal Academy in 1781 and 1786: two of birds, a peacock and a group of shells. As Mrs Smith, she showed a perspective view of Sir Ashton Lever’s Museum with the London Society of Artists at Leicester House in 1791 – previously exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1785.

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