C1838

Le Koala d'apres Griffith. Phascolarctos fuscus, Desm.

Early image of Koala with young on her back, based on John Lewin’s watercolour. In early depictions of Australia’s exotic zoology, it was the unique mammals such as the kangaroos and platypus that captured the artists and collectors imagination and … Read Full Description

$A 275

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S/N: DDSN-ANI-AA-002–194815
(B009)
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Details

Full Title:

Le Koala d’apres Griffith. Phascolarctos fuscus, Desm.

Date:

C1838

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Copper engraving with original hand colouring
AUTHENTICITY
Le Koala d'apres Griffith. Phascolarctos fuscus, Desm. - Antique Print from 1838

Genuine antique
dated:

1838

Description:

Early image of Koala with young on her back, based on John Lewin’s watercolour.

In early depictions of Australia’s exotic zoology, it was the unique mammals such as the kangaroos and platypus that captured the artists and collectors imagination and as a consequence were more often illustrated. It is not surprising then, that the Koala was one of the least depicted of the local fauna and it wasn’t until 1798, some nine years after settlement, that it was first recorded and then formally described in 1811.

1788 First sighting (26th January). John Price, Bargo, NSW ‘There is another animal which the natives call a ‘cullawine’, which much resembles the sloths in America.

1802 First specimen (parts only) Barrallier, location unknown NSW ‘The Aboriginals brought portions of a monkey (in the native language Colo), but they had cut it into pieces… I sent these two feet to the Government preserved in a bottle of brandy.

1803 First published account (21st August) Sydney Gazette, Port Jackson, NSW An Animal whose species was never before found in the Colony, is in His excellency’s possession.

1808 First scientific report (23rd June ) Everard Home, S.W. Of Port Jackson It is commonly about two feet long and one high, in the girth about one foot and half it is covered with the soft fur, lead coloured on the back, and white on the belly.

Common names :Koala, Koala Bear, Native Bear.
Modern binomial name: Phascolarctos cinereus
First described: Goldfuss 1817

John William Lewin (1770 - 1819)

Lewin was a naturalist and artist, the son of William Lewin, a fellow of the Linnean Society and author of The Birds of Great Britain. He arrived in Sydney in 1800 and lived at Parramatta. He went on a number of early exploring expeditions in the colony including with Colonel William Paterson exploring the Hunter River and in November 1801. In 1804 Lewin was granted a 100-acre (40 ha) farm near Parramatta. He accompanied Macquarie's party when the governor first crossed the Blue Mountains via William Cox's new road in May 1815. In 1817 and 1818 Macquarie commissioned drawings of plants collected during John Oxley's explorations. Lewin died on 27 August 1819. His greatest published work was, The Birds of New South Wales. As the first free professional artist in Australia, Lewin holds a significant place in the history and development of colonial art.The Birds of New South Wales was the first published series on Australian birds and a testament to Lewin's artistic skills and keen sense of observation. In a break from tradition, Lewin not only utilised unusual compositions to depict his subjects but for the first time we see the beginning of a true reflection in the portrayal of Australian botany. In producing The Birds of New South Wales, Lewin encountered enormous difficulties and tribulations which culminated in a very complicated publishing history.

View other items by John William Lewin

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