Walter Preston and Philip Slaeger | State Library of New South Wales

Walter Preston and Philip Slaeger

Walter Preston was born in about 1777 and convicted of highway robbery in London. His death sentence was commuted to fourteen years’ transportation and he was assigned to printer Absalom West upon arrival in Sydney in 1812. Like Joseph Lycett, Preston was sent to the penal colony of Newcastle for a crime committed in Sydney and came under the influence of Major James Wallis. In 1819, Preston engraved the plates for Wallis' An historical account of the Colony of New South Wales. He received an absolute pardon in the same year.

Philip Slaeger (aka Sligo) was sentenced to seven years transportation at Maidstone in Kent. He arrived in Sydney in 1807 and worked as an assigned servant until the end of his sentence in 1812. His first work as an engraver also appeared in 1812 – two views of Sydney from Bennelong Point, engraved onto copper plate after paintings by John Eyre.

In Sydney, both Preston and Slaeger were employed by Absalom West to engrave the copper plates for West’s Views in New South Wales which featured large prints of views engraved from originals by John Eyre. West’s Views were issued in Sydney in 1813 and cost three pounds.

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