The Quintessential Bird

Betty Temple Watts (1901–1992) studied art as a 19 year old, but it was not until she was 48 that she decided to immerse herself in her bird art. Her exceptional powers of observation and a gift for capturing the quintessential nature of birds ­– their behaviour, character and colour – is evident from the 34 watercolour plates that she painted for the 1969 edition of Birds in the Australian High Country, all now held in the National Library of Australia.

In The Quintessential Bird, a short biography of Betty Temple Watts by Viola Temple Watts, wife of her son Stephen, allows readers a glimpse into Betty’s  world. This is followed by the plates, reproduced in full along with 60 close-ups of individual birds.

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Sample images

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