Literature devoted to the art of the First Fleet is vast and rarely does new material surface to add to the canon of existing drawings however in 2011, 745 drawings dating from the 1790s were acquired by the State Library of New South Wales from a private aristocratic library in England.
Their emergence prompted new, detailed art historical analysis of the traditions of natural history art production demonstrating that colonisation was not just about physical and cultural occupation of the land but intellectual engagement with it.
Louise Anemaat shares how the study of these drawings presents a view of a culturally richer, more expressive colonial community than commonly thought, exposing new lines of investigation and encouraging us to look more deeply at our history through the prism of collections.
Louise Anemaat is the Executive Director of Library & Information Services at the State Library of New South Wales. Louise was formerly Head of the Library’s pictorial collections. She is the author of Natural Curiosity. Unseen art of the First Fleet (NewSouth Publishing, 2014) – an analysis of the traditions of natural history art production in Australia and Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries.
This talk is presented as part of the opening weekend of Colony: Australia 1770–1861 and Colony: Frontier Wars.
Attend two exhibition opening talks – Colonial Encounters and Unseen Art of the First Fleet – and receive a 10% discount. To purchase tickets to both talks, click here.