NGV TEMPORARY CLOSURE

From our team here at NGV, we’re sending our best wishes to our community during this challenging time.

Following the latest public health directions from the Victorian Government, the NGV is temporarily closed to the public.

We encourage you to visit our website and follow our social media for updates.

We are grateful for the loyalty and understanding of the NGV community and hope to welcome you back soon.

The Sydney Bird Painter Boobook owl (c. 1790-1800)

THE SYDNEY BIRD PAINTER
Boobook owl (c. 1790-1800)

This watercolour is the earliest Australian work in the NGV Collection. The boobook owl was drawn by an unidentified artist, possibly a member of the First Fleet, whose hand has also been identified in watercolours held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, depicting birds. At least three artists, now collectively referred to as the ‘Sydney Bird Painter’, worked on these drawings. Despite the artist’s attention to detail, the depiction of the owl reveals several inaccuracies – for example, the shape of the beak – which suggests the drawing was made from a stuffed specimen rather than from life.