Natural Curiosity: The Art of the First Fleet

Author(s): Louise Anemaat

art design photography

Parrots and lorikeets swoop down, vivid, bright and colourful. Black swans glide through the air. Owls stare out from pages, wide-eyed.

A sense of awe swept through natural history circles in eighteenth-century London when the first ships returned from Sydney with their cargo of exotic animals, birds and plants - and striking watercolour illustrations.

The sudden emergence, in 2011, of a large number of these watercolour illustrations has revealed much about the early years of the colony. In Natural Curiosity, Louise Anemaat uncovers never-before-published works from the artists of the First Fleet, including convicts-turned-watercolourists Thomas Watling and John Doody, and the anonymous 'Port Jackson Painter'. She unravels the complex network of natural history collectors who spanned the globe - eagerly acquiring, copying and exchanging these artworks - from New South Wales Surgeon-General John White to passionate British collector Aylmer Bourke Lambert.


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Louise Anemaat is head of pictures section at the State Library of New South Wales where she has curated many exhibitions and lectured extensively on the library's 18th-century collections.

General Fields

  • : 9781742234090
  • : NewSouth Publishing
  • : NewSouth Publishing
  • : February 2014
  • : 280mm X 230mm
  • : Australia
  • : March 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Louise Anemaat
  • : Paperback
  • : 414
  • : 256
  • : illustrations