Rare lithograph of the best and largest colonial image of the Emu by John Gould from his epic series, The Birds of Australia and Adjacent Islands, published for the author, printed by Richard and John E. Taylor, London.
This lithograph was drawn and lithographed Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins the famous English sculptor and natural history artist renowned for his work on the life-size models of dinosaurs in the Crystal Palace Park in south London.
In his introduction to The Birds of Australia, Gould stated the reasons for endeavouring the mammoth task of documenting the ornithology of Australia; "I was naturally desirous of turning my attention to the Ornithology of some other region; and a variety of opportune and concurring circumstances induced me to select that of Australia, the birds of which, although invested with the highest degree of interest, had been almost entirely neglected In the absence, then, of any general work on the Birds of Australia, the field was comparatively a new one, and of no ordinary degree of interest, from the circumstance of its being one of the finest possessions of the British Crown, and from its natural productions being as remarkable for the anomalous nature of their forms, as for their beauty, and the singularity of their habits."
The Emu was first sighted on 21st January 1788 by surgeon Arthur Bowes, in Port Jackson and described and drawn in his diary on the transport ship Lady Penrhyn. His diary entry describes his observations The animals we saw during our stay in New Holland...... a bird of a new genus, as large and high as a Ostrich.
Common name: Emu
Binomial name: Dromaius novaehollandiae
First described: Latham 1790
Distribution: Australia wide
Reference: RDCBOB Pg 45