C1877

The Kangaroo. - Macropus giganteus.

Scarce engraving of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was founded in 1828 in London, mainly at the instigation of Lord Brougham with the objective of publishing information to people who were unable to … Read Full Description

$A 245

S/N: SDUK-ANI-AA-067–217240
(C108)
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Details

Full Title:

The Kangaroo. – Macropus giganteus.

Date:

C1877

Artist:

Artist Unknown, English School

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Hand coloured engraving.

Image Size: 

315mm 
x 250mm

Paper Size: 

333mm 
x 276mm
AUTHENTICITY
The Kangaroo. - Macropus giganteus. - Antique Print from 1877

Genuine antique
dated:

1877

Description:

Scarce engraving of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was founded in 1828 in London, mainly at the instigation of Lord Brougham with the objective of publishing information to people who were unable to obtain formal teaching, or who preferred self- education. The aspiring working class and the middle class were its targets. It was sometimes mentioned in contemporary sources as SDUK.

Modern binomial name: Macropus giganteus
Aboriginal names: Bandaarr in:  Bandaarr in: Yuwaalaraay, Gamilaraay, Gamilaroi, Kamilaroi, Yuwaalayaay
First described: Shaw 1790
Distribution: Eastern Australia S.A., Vic, TAS, NSW and QLD.

The first illustration of a ‘Kangaroo’ drawn from an Australian species, is acknowledged as that drawn by George Stubb’s from a specimen collected at Endeavour River in 1770 by James Cook’s crew while the Endeavour was being careened. The subsequent engraving was published in 1773, in the official accounts of the voyage of the Endeavour. That iconic image captured the public’s imagination for over sixty years and was the first depiction of any Australian animal in western art. Confusion as to the original species described, based on the specimens brought back by Cook and the subsequent painting by Stubb’s. This situation arose from the comparisons of drawings and photographs which are the only records of the lost original specimens with the Parkinson’s sketch made on 23rd June 1770 at Endeavour River and the later Stubb’s painting. Parkinon’s sketches and paintings of natural history subjects held in public institutions, clearly show a prodigious artistic talent, and his sketch of a kangaroo made on the spot, is certainly a more realistic depiction than one by Stubb’s that has exaggerated features. Stubb’s had the disadvantages of not seeing a live animal and only having the dried skin that was brought back by Cook to work from. It is probable that the skin was firstly re-hydrated and then inflated for Stubb’s to be able paint the animal. It has been established that the kangaroos collected on Cook’s expedition near Cooktown were specimens of the Grey Kangaroo, Macropus giganteus (Roland Strachan CBOM p. 244).

The first sighting of a kangaroo in fact was an earlier one, by Francis Pelsaert of ‘the teeming cats’ on 15th November, 1629 on the Abrolhos Islands where the Batavia had been wrecked. The first illustration of a Macropod was made to the Stubb’s illustration, titled ‘Kangaron and made on 15th November 1629’ by Matthys Pool and described by Cornelis de Bruyn in ‘Reizen over Moskovie door Persie en Indie’, 1714 but the animal depicted was not an Australian species but Thylogale brunii (Dusky Pademelon), a Filander native to New Guinea.

Collections:
Powerhouse-Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences: P3607

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