Description of Content

The print depicted here was one included in Krefft's 700- copy limited edition Snakes of Australia, published by the Government Printer though financed by Krefft himself in 1869. Plate I of the Krefft book is the Diamond Snake, which was drawn and lithographed by the natural history illustrator Helena Forde. Belonging to the Carpet Python group, the Diamond Python is non-venomous and has a total length of 2.5 metres. This well-known Australian python has a very diverse habitat range and is pictured here beautifully coiled around a tree branch. There was contention over naming the snake and Krefft encouraged the use of "broad-scaled snake". Gerard Krefft, born in Germany in 1830, became one of Australia's early herpetologists and, in 1958, was appointed to the museum in Melbourne after returning with sketches from a Victorian government specimen collecting expedition. At the time that Snakes of Australia was written and published (1865-1869), Krefft was the Secretary and an Assistant Curator at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Krefft had, from an early age, shown skills in drawing and was himself an artist and draughtsman. While living in New York, and before moving to Australia, he had studied and copied some of Audubon's works. Gerard Krefft was lauded at the Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition of 1870 for his published research on Australian snakes, and Helena Scott and her sister received a Very High Commendation for the striking artwork that accompanied Krefft's text.

More Information