First Fleet Artist, George Raper’s Birds and Plants of Australia

In 2005, the National Library of Australia purchased what was to become one of its most prized acquisitions, 56 watercolours of birds and flowers by midshipman George Raper of the First Fleet.

The collection of exquisite drawings drew thousands of people to the National Library along with many calls for a book to be published to showcase the images.

Curator of Pictures at the National Library, Linda Groom, undertook the task and, after travelling halfway across the world, immersing herself in ships’ musters and interviewing the descendants of Raper, First Fleet Artist, George Raper’s Birds and Plants of Australia, was born.

It tells the story of a stunning collection of images, of their good fortune to fall into the hands of an aristocratic family that carefully passed them from generation to generation and of the circumstances that led them to being offered to the National Library –  described by Ms Groom as a  “succession of miracles”.

Linda Groom is available for interview.
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Book details:
First Fleet Artist
George Raper’s Birds and Plants of Australia
ISBN 978-0-642-27681-0
2009, pb, 288 x 237 mm, 176 pp, colour illus
RRP $49.95

NOTE:
All Images are in high resolution TIFF format approximately A4 @ 300dpi.

George Raper (1769-1796)
Glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)
watercolour drawing, 48.8 x 30.4 cm
Part of the Ducie collection of First Fleet art 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures Collection
nla.pic-vn3579495

Download (14.48 Mb zip)

George Raper (1769-1796)
Variegated fairy-wren (Malurus lamberti)
watercolour drawing; 30 x 25.2 cm
Part of the Ducie collection of First Fleet art 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures Collection
nla.pic-vn3579548

Download (17.82 Mb zip)

George Raper (1769-1796)
Eurasian crane (Grus grus)  
Watercolour drawing; 35.1 x 24 cm on sheet 44.3 x 32.8 cm
Part of Ducie collection of First Fleet 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures Collection
nla.pic-vn3579675

Download (17.63 Mb zip)

George Raper  (1769-1796)
King parrot (Alisterus scapularis)
watercolour drawing; 45.9 x 30.4 cm
Part of the Ducie collection of First Fleet art 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures collection
nla.pic-vn3579209

Download (15.98 Mb zip)

George Raper (1769-1796)
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
watercolour drawing; 40.7 x 32 cm
Part of the Ducie collection of First Fleet art 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures collection
nla.pic-vn3579224

Download (19.63 Mb zip)

George Raper (1769-1796)
Rock lily (Dendrobium speciosum)
Watercolour drawing; 48.9 x 29.3 cm
Part of the Ducie collection of First Fleet art 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures collection
nla.pic-vn3579494

Download (2.33 Mb zip)

George Raper (1769-1796)
Kangaroo apple (Solanum, possibly Solanum aviculare)
watercolour; 23.1 x 18.2 cm
Part of the Ducie collection of First Fleet 1788
National Library of Australia
Pictures collection
nla.pic-vn3579693

Download (19.39 Mb zip)

George Raper  (1769-1796)
The melancholy loss of H.M.S. Sirius off Norfolk Island, March 19th 1790
ink and watercolour on paper; sheet 18 x 22.7 cm
National Library of Australia
Manuscripts collection
nla.pic-an21511971

Download (17.79 Mb zip)

George Raper (1769-1796)
Plan of Port Jackson, coast of New South Wales … as surveyed by Cap’n Hunter 1788
National Library of Australia
Maps collection
nla.map-rm3458

Download (19.15 Mb zip)

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