This volume traces the 300-year history of bird art in Australia, from the crudely illustrated records of the earliest European voyages of discovery to the diversity of artwork available at the start of the 21st century. It is a history inseparable from the development of Australian ornithology. Against a background of establishment of the country itself, naval draftsmen, convicts, officers, settlers, naturalists, artists and scientists alike contributed both to the art and to science. Driven by the excitement of discovery and description of new and exotic birds, the illustration of Australian birds flourished in the late 18th and 19th centuries, then fell into neglect. In recent decades, increasing interest in the environment has led to a revitalization of the art. A wealth of contemporary Australian artists has tuned their attention to birds and never before has wildlife illustration been so varied and accessible. There are over 250 images representing 94 artists in the book. Some are well-known, others are published for the first time. All have been selected for their merit, be it ornithological, historical or artistic. The book links the greats of yesterday - including Ferdinand Bauer, Edward Lear, George Raper, John Lewin, the Goulds and the mysterious Port Jackson Painter - with some of the finest wildlife artists working in Australia today, many with an intimate knowledge of the birds in the field.
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