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A Year of Southern Hemisphere Birds

The State Library has acquired a beautiful set of artists’ books produced by an Australian artist, Louise Jennison.

 A Year of Southern Hemisphere Birds is an artists’ book which continues the ornithological tradition of John James Audubon and John Gould. This unique work is a handmade book and has been a year in the making. The work features 12 hand-drawn pencil on paper illustrations of Southern Hemisphere birds, one for each month of the year. The species depicted include the Yellow-billed Kingfisher, the Red-rumped Parrot and the Southern Booboo. Each bird is shown surrounded by images of its food and habitat and the things which it does. The images of the birds are accompanied by Gracia Haby’s explorer’s narrative which provides a prose description of each species. The work portrays birds as creatures similar to humans in the way in which they build their homes and lead their lives.

A Flight of Twelve Southern Hemisphere Birds, is a companion volume to this work. Flight reproduces the portraits from the original work but in each portrait the bird has been hand coloured. Flight is published in a concertina format which folds to form a volume with two cloth bound covers. The Library’s copy is one of only ten published.

 The Library holds a rich collection of artists’ books which celebrate the book as an objet d’art and these two books are an excellent addition to this collection.

A Year of Southern Hemisphere Birds is located at X/82.
A Flight of Twelve Southern Hemisphere Birds is located at H 2013/7234.  

Simon Cootes
Collection Development Librarian