State Library of NSW
Male and female red kangaroos in a Liverpool Plains landscapec 1819
John Lewin, a natural history illustrator, was the first free professional artist to migrate to New South Wales, arriving in Sydney in 1800. His ambition was to publish illustrated books on Australian natural history, for European naturalists, but this proved too challenging. Instead Lewin turned to larger scale commissions, intended as works of art rather to be examined for their scientific detail.
This painting was made entirely in Lewin’s Sydney studio, from specimens collected on the Liverpool Plains by explorer John Oxley. The Warrumbungle Ranges are depicted in the background, copied from a sketch made by Oxley’s second-in-command, George William Evans. This painting was purchased by John Bigge, a judge and Royal Commissioner, and the walls of Government House were covered in similar artworks.