C1814

Thistle’s Island; taken from the anchor in Memory Cove Feb 24 1802

Rare coastal profile of Thistle Island, near Port Lincoln by William Westall, artist on board Matthew Flinders seminal survey of the Australia on the Investigator. Flinders Sunday 21 Feb, 1802: Early in the morning I went on shore to the eastern … Read Full Description

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S/N: FAVTTA-CP-SC-1709–186804
(C098)
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Details

Full Title:

Thistle’s Island; taken from the anchor in Memory Cove Feb 24 1802

Date:

C1814

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

440mm 
x 70mm
AUTHENTICITY
Thistle's Island; taken from the anchor in Memory Cove Feb 24 1802 - Antique View from 1814

Genuine antique
dated:

1814

Description:

Rare coastal profile of Thistle Island, near Port Lincoln by William Westall, artist on board Matthew Flinders seminal survey of the Australia on the Investigator.

Flinders Sunday 21 Feb, 1802:
Early in the morning I went on shore to the eastern land, anxious to ascertain its connexion with or separation from the main. There were seals upon the beach, and further on, numberless traces of the kangaroo. Signs of extinguished fire existed everywhere; but they bespoke a conflagration of the woods, of remote date, rather than the habitual presence of men, and might have arisen from lightning, or from the friction of two trees in a strong wind. Upon the whole I satisfied myself of the insularity of this land; and gave to it, shortly after, the name of Thistle’s Island, from the master who accompanied me. In our way up the hills, to take a commanding station for the survey, a speckled, yellow snake lay asleep before us. By pressing the butt-end of a musket upon his neck I kept him down whilst Mr. Thistle, with a sail needle and twine, sewed up his mouth; and he was taken on board alive for the naturalist to examine; but two others of the same species had already been killed, and one of them was seven feet nine inches in length. We were proceeding onward with our prize when a white eagle, with fierce aspect and outspread wing, was seen bounding towards us; but stopping short at twenty yards off, he flew up into a tree. Another bird of the same kind discovered himself by making a motion to pounce down upon us as we passed underneath; and it seemed evident that they took us for kangaroos, having probably never seen an upright animal in the island of any other species. These birds sit watching in the trees, and should a kangaroo come out to feed in the day-time, it is seized and torn to pieces by these voracious creatures. This accounted for why so few kangaroos were seen, when traces of them were met with at every step; and for their keeping so much under thick bushes that it was impossible to shoot them. Their size was superior to any of those found upon the more western islands, but much inferior to the forest kangaroo of the continent.

From of Flinders hydrographic atlas, A voyage to Terra Australis…, sheet XVII, London : G. and W. Nicol, 1814.

Full title of the atlas;A Voyage to Terra Australis, undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty’s Ship The Investigator and subsequently in the armed vessel Porpoise and Cumberland schooner. 

William Westall (1781 - 1850)

Westall was a landscape artist born at Hertford, England. He was taught to draw by his elder half-brother Richard (1765-1836), a water-colour painter, Royal Academician and painting teacher to Princess Victoria. In 1799 he was admitted to the Royal Academy School, where he was studying when at 19 he was appointed landscape artist with Matthew Flinders' Investigator expedition to Australia, at a salary of 300 guineas. During the voyage he made a large number of pencil-and-wash landscapes in places visited by the Investigator and a series of coast profiles in pencil. When the Porpoise ran aground on Wreck Reef his sketches were 'wetted and partly destroyed' and, while Westall travelled in China, the drawings, regarded as part of the official record of the voyage, were taken by Lieutenant Robert Fowler to England. There, at the suggestion of Sir Joseph Banks, they were handed to Richard Westall to be 'restored to a proper state'. After spending some time in China and India Westall returned to London in February 1805 and sought access to the sketches to paint a picture for exhibition at the Royal Academy and showed a View of the Bay of Pines at the academy later in the year. In the summer of 1805 Westall went to Madeira and twelve months later to Jamaica. After returning to England he painted a series of water-colour views of the places he had visited and these were shown in a Brook Street gallery and at the Associated Artists' exhibition in 1808. Later he received commissions from the Admiralty to paint nine pictures to illustrate Flinders' A Voyage to Terra Australis … (1814), and was engaged by several London publishers to paint water-colours to be reproduced as aquatints.  

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