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Rare Australian Gilliflower Shrub of New South Wales. Philotheca c1800.

Rare Australian Gilliflower Shrub of New South Wales. Philotheca c1800.

by Harrison Cluse & Co

Australian Gilliflower antique print c1800. "The name which we have given it may serve as well as any other, till more of its botanical nature can be regularly ascertained. It is not always, even then, that our nomenclators can bestow suitable appellations to discriminate the infinite varieties of nature."

Small copperplate engraving with contemporary hand-colour from the Naturalist's Pocket Magazine; or, Compleat Cabinet of Curiosities and Beauties of Nature, containing elegant coloured prints of birds, fishes, flowers, insects, quadrupeds, shells, and other natural productions..", published in London between 1798 and 1802 by Harrison, Cluse & Co. No. 108 Newgate Street. Most likely the engravings were based on paintings by the convict artist, Thomas Watling, much of whose work was sent to Britain. Watling made an immeasurable contribution to our knowledge of colonial days in Australia with his visual recording of views and early discoveries of nature in New South Wales.

Born in 1762, Watling's parents died when he was very young. Cared for by a maiden aunt, he was well-educated, with comprehensive tuition in art. Watling formed his own art academy. After a brief period in Glasgow as a coach and chaise painter he returned to Dumfries - where he was accused of forging guinea bank notes. He denied guilt, but rather than risk conviction and execution,Watling requested transportation to Australia. In Sydney Watling was assigned to ardent naturalist, surgeon-general John White, who greatly utilized his artistic skill. When White left the colony at the end of 1794 it is thought that Watling was assigned to judge-advocate David Collins, as Collins's An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales used sketches by Watling. Both publications were published in London between 1798 and 1802.

Governor John Hunter granted Watling a conditional pardon in 1796, and an absolute pardon the following year. Watling took his son and returned to Scotland. In 1806 Watling was tried in Edinburgh for a series of forgeries, but was discharged with a verdict of "not proven". He and his son then moved to London but could not support themselves. Watling appealed for assistance from Hunter (by then an admiral), and members of the Royal Academy - before succumbing to cancer.

This engraving has age-discolouration but is otherwise in good condition except for a small mark. The page measures 150 x 85mm (approximately 6 x 3 3/8 inches). The accompanying text is available. 

Stock Number: apAbHarr2Price: $250.00

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