London: Harrison Cluse & Co., 78 Fleet Street, 1798-9. Exquisite small images of the extraordinary flora from New South Wales, first introduced to the European public in 1790 in John White', the surgeon for the First Fleet. "Journal of a Voyage to new South Wales with Sixty-five Plates of Non descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, curious Cones of Trees..." The images have a primitive quality reminiscent of folk art. Three of the images are somewhat inspired from White's book- Peppermint of New South Wales; Banksia Pyriformis & Banksia Serrata. Others include Honey Flower of New South Wales; Metrosideros Lanceolata: Banksia Incognita; War-Re-Taw (Waratah); Grass Gum Tree. All but two bear the publishing line beneath of Harrison Cluse, & Co. No. 78 Fleet Street, with dates varying from Sept. 1, 1798 to Jan. 26, 1799. It is thought that they are based on paintings by Thomas Watling, a convict with tremendous artistic skill. He was assigned to aid John White (book above), David Collins ("An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales") and Governor John Hunter ("An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson...").
This comprises eight of the 20 Australian images published in this work and are the more iconic Australian images that would have been so remarkable to European viewers. 3 1/2 x 5 3/4", copper engravings with original hand color. Some minor toning, a couple with the slight shadow of text offsetting, overall very good condition. Item #26357