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Silvester Diggles' North Qld. Mound-raising Megapode, Megapoius tumulus lithograph c1860

Silvester Diggles' North Qld. Mound-raising Megapode, Megapoius tumulus lithograph c1860

by Diggles, Silvester

Brisbane-published 19thC lithograph of Megapodius tumulus, Mound-raising Megapode.

Diggles's Australian Mound-raising Megapode of Northern Australia, now known as Brush Turkeys (or Scrub Turkeys). This a rare original lithograph printed by T. P Pugh om Queensland Street, Brisbane for the 21 parts of The Ornithology of Australia by Silvester Diggles (1817-1880). Between 1863 and 1875 Diggles made 325 watercolour paintings of around 600 birds of Australia, as the preliminary artwork for his lithographic plates. In each of the 21 completed parts there were 8 lithographs – mostly by Henry Green Eaton (1818-1887). It was the first substantial work on nature to be 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. He appealed in vain for government assitance to pay for colouring, and offered uncoloured lithographs for distribution to schools in return.

Diggles arrived in Sydney from Liverpool in 1853. He moved his family 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. Initially tuning pianos, Diggles also taught music and repaired musical instruments. He 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'.

The accompapnying text is included with this lithograph. Page size is 375 x 270mm (14 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches). As usual with this work, there is slight foxing of the page, but the later fine hand-colour has not been affected.

Stock Number: apSD.MegapodPrice: $270.00

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