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Natural curiosity: Unseen art of the First Fleet

2 February 2021

Natural curiosity: Unseen art of the First Fleet

Caption on bottom

The emergence of over 700 natural history drawings from a private aristocratic library, closely linked to the First, Second and Third Fleets, prompted new, detailed art historical analysis of the traditions of botanical art production and its convention of copying and trans-Pacific dissemination. The drawings are evidence of the fascination Europe felt for the natural world in Australia and of the responses to a startlingly new and unfamiliar environment. They were the means by which knowledge about Australia found its way into books and museums and from there, into European consciousness.