Those interested in Australian fauna, flora, art and history are in for a treat with the Trowbridge Gallery in Claremont hosting a unique exhibition and sale of John Gould hand-coloured lithographs.
Gould is well known for his meticulous lithographs, a printing technique whereby ink is applied to an illustration drawn with crayons on stone.
The ink adheres to the greasiness of the crayon, which is then pressed onto paper to record the image.
The exhibition, Mammals of Australia is a complete collection of 182 works documenting a range of mammals from Western Pygmy Possums to the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger.
Gould, whose career encompassed gardening, taxidermy and ornithology, began Mammals of Australia in 1845 on one of his trips to Australia from England.
He finished the series in 1863.
According to Trowbridge Gallery, Mammals of Australia provided the world with the first accurate illustrations and descriptions of Australia’s unique fauna.
Trowbridge Gallery owner Steven Marcuson purchased the complete works in Europe and unlike previous series Birds of Europe and Birds of Australia, the illustrations from Mammals of Australia were not bound into books.
Trowbridge Gallery Manager Bronwyn Maurice told The Starfish the lithographs were bound between cardboard, known as printers covers in order to be sent to their subscribers.
“He’d send out a mailing list to people who have bought his work before saying he’s now doing mammals of Australia and would they like to subscribe to this, and 125 people came back to him and said yes we would like to subscribe to this,” she said.
According to the Trowbridge Gallery subscribers to his works included, “Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, an emperor, a king, three princes and nine dukes.”
The lithographs were sent to collectors in installments.
“When the final lithographs were completed, Gould would have sent the lithographs with a letter, saying ‘they now need to be bound,’ but they never were,” she said.
Ms Maurice said there’s plenty of history to Gould’s work and the gallery welcomes those wanting learn more about the artist, and this series.
“If people don’t know about him when they come into the gallery we can take them through the printing process and talk about John Gould himself. So really, there’s an educational process within the gallery,” Ms Maurice said.
“Gould was not only a great natural historian, his genius showed in his breadth of vision, his great energy and his ability to encourage others to extend themselves to their highest potential.”
Mammals of Australia, at the Trowbridge Gallery on Old Theatre Lane in Claremont, is open until September 16.
For more information, visit www.trowbridgegallery.com.au