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Diggles Australian Shrike Thrushes. Colluricincla Harmonica, C. Rufigaster lithograph c1865.

Diggles Australian Shrike Thrushes. Colluricincla Harmonica, C. Rufigaster lithograph c1865.

by Diggles, Silvester

Diggles Australian Harmonious Shrike and Rusty-breasted Shrike-Thrush lithograph circa 1865. Rare original hand-coloured lithograph printed between 1865 and 1870 by T.P. Pugh in Queen Street, Brisbane for 21 parts of “The Ornithology of Australia” by Silvester Diggles (1817-1880).  

Between 1863 and 1875 Diggles made 325 watercolour paintings of about 600 birds of Australia, as the preliminary artwork for his lithographic plates. In each of the 21 completed parts that were published, there were 8 lithographs – mostly by Henry Green Eaton (1818-1887). It was the first substantial work on nature that was published in Australia. Diggles intended to illustrate all Australian birds, life-size if possible. Unfortunately, limited by funds, there were only 126 hand-coloured lithographs published.

Arriving in Sydney from Liverpool in 1853, Silvester Diggles moved to Brisbane in January 1855 – after an exploratory visit at the end of the previous year. A religious man, Diggles was important in the cultural development of Brisbane.  He taught music, tuned pianos, repaired musical instruments, was an able tenor, set up the Brisbane Choral Society & accompanied it, helped found the Brisbane Philarmonic Society, was on the Committee of the School of Arts, and was Drawing Master at Brisbane Boys Grammar. Interested in entomology and ornithology, Diggles sent many newly discovered butterfly, moth and beetle specimens to England for description. Diggles helped established the first scientific organization, the Queensland Philosophical Society, and acted as curator at the small museum they set up in 1862 in the Observatory on Wickham Terrace. Today Silvester Diggles is best known for his ambitious hand-coloured lithographs for his ‘Birds of Australia’.

This lithograph has slight foxing but otherwise is in good condition, with fine later hand-colour. Size: 360 x 270mm (14.1/8 x 10.5/8 inches).

Stock Number: apSDbA.6PPrice: $297.00