Birds of New South Wales
Lewin: crazy Art had been curated by Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian, State Library of NSW. Richard's brand new guide Mr JW Lewin, Painter & Naturalist, Sydney: Newsouth Publishing, 2012 is on sale when you look at the galleries.
1. Life in England
John Lewin came to be in London in 1770. Their dad, William, was a fabric designer just who became a normal history illustrator and writer. William’s books were reliable, but he was considered a ‘practical naturalist’ — a talented artisan and collector in place of a scientist. Although almost nothing is famous about his education and instruction, younger John apparently discovered his skills assisting his daddy.
In 1798 he chose to go to Australia to color and publish its natural record ‘on the location, and not from dried out specimens’. He desired to avoid the great problem of normal record illustration: that specimens showing up in Europe from around the world were often damaged or badly maintained.
a rich goldsmith and entomologist, or insect enthusiast, Dru Drury, sponsored Lewin to travel to Australia. He supplied £51 of materials eg firearms, nets, specimen jars and printmaking equipment, becoming paid back in insect specimens.
2. Tragedy and success
John Lewin arrived in Sydney on 11 January 1800. His wife, Maria, preceded him by eight months. They'd both been waiting from the ship when John left to go ashore, indicating to return. The wind out of the blue sprang up, and the ship set sail without him, with Maria nevertheless onboard. They did not see one another again for 18 months.
Not surprisingly stress, the watercolours Lewin painted in 1800 are an exceptional success, and a striking record of their intense scrutiny of Australian nature. His styles, showing wild birds on plainly recognizable flowers, employed uncommon compositions for instance the off-centre keeping of the subject and powerful diagonals.
These images, produced in a distant colony isolated from fellow music artists and naturalists, were completely at chances with standard English natural history example.
3. Going checking out
Inside the first many years in NSW Lewin was keen to explore the colony. In mid-1801 he ventured towards the Hunter River with Captain William Paterson, a committed enthusiast and crucial patron. The journey in addition satisfied Governor King’s want to survey the colony’s sources.
In belated 1801 Lewin left for Tahiti to look for gold. It was an emergency. Wrecked in Matavai Bay, he and his companions had been caught in a vicious municipal war and were in concern with their resides. They retreated on island’s missionary settlement.
Lewin informed his patron Dru Drury: ‘For the nine months we had been on the Island we were continuously alarmed utilizing the Dreadfull Ideas of getting our throats cut.’ He resolved to ‘set straight down my pencil and never going any more looking for gold pearls or anything but pests and therefore not out of sight of land’.