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Birds, Botany & Art

First Fleet Artist

George Raper, midshipman on the Sirius of the First Fleet, talent and opportunity magnificently coalesced to produce what is now one of the National Library of Australia’s most treasured collections, the Ducie Collection of First Fleet Art. Raper’s enviable ability to observe and depict the captivating beauty of Australian birds and plants was heightened by his youthful enthusiasm for the novelty of what he witnessed. In telling Raper’s story, Groom adds an entirely new dimension to our understanding of the First Fleet experience and the life of a junior officer in the British Navy.

A Brush with Birds, Australian Bird Art from the National Library

The paintings of Australian birds in A Brush with Birds are by artists whose work is represented in the National Library of Australia. They span the years from first settlement to the 1970s, telling us about the times as well as the birds, and showing how the style of bird art has evolved. This book is lavishly illustrated with vibrant and luscious art and it includes the stories of the artists behind the paintings. Enter the colourful world of birds such as the King Parrot, the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, the Satin Bower Bird and the Red Goshawk, and be inspired by their beauty.