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Australian Blue-billed Duck, Oxyura Australis. Mathews, lithograph c1920

Australian Blue-billed Duck, Oxyura Australis. Mathews, lithograph c1920


by Groenvold, Henrik

Named Blue-billed Duck as its bill colour changes to bright blue during mating season.

Original hand-coloured lithograph by Danish natural history artist Henrik Gronvold (1858-1940) for “Birds of Australia” by Gregory Macalister Mathews (1876-1949). Published in London between 1910 and 1927, this was one of the last-published series of grand volumes that was illustrated with hand-coloured lithographs, which had become a rather expensive, skilled labour-intensive operation.

Gregory Macalister Mathews was born in northern New South Wales and educated at Singleton Grammar and King's School, Paramatta. He was not a professional scientist but worked with and was guided by scientific experts both in Australia, and after retirement, in England. Dr Richard Bowdler Sharpe of the British Museum, who had worked with 'The Bird Man' John Gould, suggested Mathews prepare a standard guide to Australian birds, and guided Mathews in his work. Mathews' The Birds of Australia took16 years to complete, with Mathews working up to 16 hours a day. From 1910 to 1923 he was greatly assisted by Tom Ireland, until Ireland left for Australia.

Gregory Mathews wrote several other books on the birds of this region. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was associated witha number of scinetiofic organizations around the world. He received many honours, and in 1939 was awarded the Order of Commander of the British Empire, in recognition of his notable contribution to science. He presented his vast ornithological library to the Australian Commonwealth in 1939, and it is now housed in Canberra's National Library.

Page size is 345mm x 255mm (13.1/2 x 10 inches).

Stock Number: apGMMPrice: $150.00