LEWIN, John William
Price: 2,500.00 AUD
London: J.H. Bohte, 1838. Engraved plate with contemporary handcolouring, 280 x210mm. The graceful Sydney honey-eater engraved by Australia's first professional artist John Lewin, who arrived in the colony in 1800 and established himself as our first natural history illustrator. Aside from being Australia's first natural history publisher, Lewin was an intrinsically skilled naturalist: 'The bibliographical and historical importance of Lewin has been emphasised in recent years, but Lewin the naturalist has been somewhat neglected...[his renditions] are highly competent and show the mind of an excellent observer. Lewin's birds are correct; the feather detail, legs, particularly the positioning of the toes, posture of the bird, the understanding of male and female plumage, the interactions between male and female are accurate and show a keen observer at work. The other important detail in Lewin's illustrations are the plants: they demonstrate an observer who is familiar with his subject's habitat and life-history' (Hordern House, Wettenhall catalogue). After Lewin's death in 1819, his widow Anna returned to England where she produced a new edition of her husband's pivotal book, A Natural History of the Birds of New South Wales. This was published in 1822, a further edition appeared in 1838. Very good.