James Sowerby and James Edward Smith | State Library of New South Wales

James Sowerby & James Smith

James Smith (1759-1828) was one of the first botanists to work on the plant material sent back to England from the new colony. Smith produced the first significant scientific publication of Australian flora, A specimen of the botany of New Holland, in 1793. The beautiful hand coloured illustrations were the work of acclaimed botanical artist James Sowerby. Sowerby (1757-1822) was a natural historian, artist and engraver and was responsible for thousands of scientific illustrations in many publications. His floral plates are renowned for their simplicity and botanical accuracy. He had a lifelong interest in colour and this is reflected in the quality of the hand colouring in his plates.

Smith and Sowerby collaborated again in 1803 on Exotic botany, cashing in on the lucrative market of middle and upper class amateur naturalists who wished to cultivate exotic flora in their own gardens.

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 > View further plates and text from Exotic Botany on the Library's catalogue Link to catalogue

 > View Zoology and botany of New Holland on the Library's catalogue Link to catalogue