Sunday, November 20, 2005

White's Journal

John White was the Chief Surgeon for the First Fleet voyage to Australia with Captain Phillips and was then Surgeon-General at the Sydney colony from 1788 until 1794. He was also an amateur naturalist and sketcher and he collected flora and fauna specimens which he sent back to England. His own portfolio of sketches was augmented by those completed by (at least) one convict assigned to assist him. His journal is considered to be a significant record of Australian natural history.

The sketches and specimens were lent out to the science fraternity to allow for copying. The hand-coloured engravings here were based on paintings made by Sarah Stone, Frederick Polydor Nodder, Charles Catton, Edward Kennion and the mysterious "Mortimer". Stone (Smith, post-marriage) was a leading science artist and she produced the majority of the paintings for the engravers. I could find no information about the engravings on the web.
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with 65 plates of non descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Curious cones of trees and other Natural Productions by John White esq. is reproduced in full as part of the Gutenburg (Australia) project. [published 1790]
30 of the 49 original paintings done by Sarah Stone are displayed at the State Library of NSW (multiple size images are available).
{The - probably inaccurate - names of the above beasties are in the image URLs}

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