The art of Sarah Stone, early British illustrator of Australian wildlife
March 18, 2019 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Sarah Smith, née Stone, was an English natural history illustrator and painter (Wikipedia; Design and Art Australia Online), who started turning dead specimens into "living" illustrations when she was not yet 20, was largely self-taught in her draughtsmanship technique. At only twenty-one, she was invited to exhibit four of her paintings at the Royal Academy, closed to women at the time. Australians would recognise her art from her illustrations in John White's Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales (, published in 1790. This journal is one of the 5 first fleet accounts of the new colony. And in the first half of the 1790s, her drawings were featured with other artists and published in the monograph Museum Leverianum (

Via Brainpickings, with easier to view images.

Though it seems that Sarah never visited Australia or the South Pacific, her illustrations were some of the first depictions of its fauna and ethnographical items. Which is why ...
One of the Australian Museum Research Library's greatest treasures is a collection of 132 watercolours bound in red morroco, unpublished, bearing no title page except an attribution written in pencil : 'A collection of drawings by Sarah Stone of the principal objects of curiosity in Sir Ashton Lever's Museum, consisting of natural history, the arms ornaments and dresses of the inhabitants of New Zealand and other countries discover'd by Capt. Cook'.
The Sarah Stone Collection (Australian
posted by filthy light thief (2 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I love her cross-hatching technique, she really had a talent from bringing out subtle colour gradients and texture in a print.

For example
(Zoom all the way in for best effect)
posted by Eleven at 7:10 AM on March 19

Thanks for noting that! I agree, seeing images at reduced resolution doesn't get to the level of detail in those images.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:58 AM on March 19

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