Artist's album: William Strutt | State Library of New South Wales

Artist's album: William Strutt

William Strutt trained as an artist in Europe, before coming to Australia in 1850. Finding work as an illustrator for local pictorial newspapers, he hoped to obtain commissions for large, dramatic oil paintings of important people and events like the Burke and Wills expedition.

Strutt's Burke and Wills albums are full of sketches and detailed drawings, executed on the spot to provide the artist with reference material for his watercolours, oils and engravings. Looking to paint with greater historical accuracy and realism, Strutt also made use of the latest technology - photography.

A salted paper print by an unknown photographer shows Strutt with the exploring party at their first camp site in Essendon. The album also contains an albumen print and four pairs of stereographic photographs taken at Royal Park. These are the only known photographs of the expedition.

NB: This interactive is based on William Strutt's two Burke and Wills albums. These form part of a collection of seven volumes compiled from the artist's archives.

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