This resource showcases only a small fraction of the more than 800 engraved artworks that graced the pages of The Picturesque Atlas of Australasia. Remember that if you would like to browse the Atlas, the full digitised version is available here.

Considering Art and National Identity

Following an investigation of the art and artists featured in the Atlas, lead a discussion into its context using the following prompts:

  • Why do you think the artists of the Picturesque Atlas developed their representations in these ways?
    • settler-colonial
    • imperialist
    • nationalist
    • picturesque
    • impressionistic
  • Which voices and images are missing from these representations of history, landscapes, cities and towns, and daily life?
  • The patriotic song Advance Australia Fair, which became Australia’s national anthem in 1984, was first performed just under a decade before the publication of the Picturesque Atlas. Do they contain similar notions of Australian history and identity?
  • Are there any modern parallels to the Picturesque Atlas? Think of large-scale attempts to portray places, lifestyles and history for a popular audience.