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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.
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