Description of Content
This chromolithographic print was made after an original watercolour by James Whitley Sayer for Rev. J.J. Halley's A Monograph of the Psittacidae or Parrot Family of Australia (1871). The lithographer of this plate is unknown, although the colour printing is known to have been done by Hamel & Ferguson of Melbourne. The domestic setting and use of strong colour in the work suggests an artistic rather than scientific interpretation of the cockatoo by Sayer. Rev. Halley envisioned his monograph on Australian parrots as a multi-part volume, however only one part, including the three plates reproduced here, was published due to a lack of subscribers. Halley was not the only naturalist working in Australia at this time to suffer similar financial constraints. Organisations such as the Field Naturalist Club of Victoria (established in 1880) existed partially to stimulate wider public interest in natural history. Halley himself was President of this club between 1885 and 1887, and commented on a growing interest in science and natural history in his presidential address of 1885. At the time that he was working on his monograph, however, Halley was possibly less impressed by the public's enthusiasm for natural history. Only a small number of copies of this work were ever printed due to financial constraints. Of these only four are known to exist today, making it a work of great rarity.
James W. Sayer, Ballarat District, Victoria, Australia
Halley worked on the publication while he was living in Ballarat in 1870, while the first part of the volume was published in 1871. Sayer is known to have been living at Dunolly, in the Ballarat district, in the same period. H Webster October 2011)
Richard Laishley, Ballarat District, Victoria, Australia
Halley worked on the publication while he was living in Ballarat in 1870, while the first part of the volume was published in 1871. Laishley lived in Melbourne between 1868-1874 and exhibited some lithographic illustrations for the book as a Victorian exhibitor at the Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition in 1870. Jordan and Filmer (see supplementary tab) give the date for Sayer's original drawing as 1871. (H Webster October 2011)
Type of item
268 mm (Width), 372 mm (Height)
Whole page measurements.
Jordan, Caroline and Filmer, Veronica, 'Old Sayer's Picture Gallery': James Whitley Sayer, Founder of the Geelong Gallery, Melbourne Art Journal, 11-12, 2008-2009, pp. 34-49.