Lewin: Wild Art | State Library of New South Wales

Lewin: Wild Art

John William Lewin, a humble English natural history collector and illustrator, became Australia's first professional artist when he arrived in Sydney in 1800. Yet his remarkable achievements have mostly gone unrecognised!

Lewin: Wild Art brings together for the first time over 150 of John Lewin's beautiful and distinctly Australian works, selected from the Mitchell Library's renowned collection as well as other major national and international collections.

The exhibition is supported by a dynamic events program, featuring drawing and printmaking workshops, talks and a symposium. Kids can create their own artworks, and visitors can see talented botanical artists at work in the exhibition.

What’s on

Wild ramblings
Join curator Richard Neville for a fascinating tour of Lewin: Wild Art, then go 'into the wild' at the Royal Botanic Garden where a guide will bring Lewin's work to life!


The Life and Times of Mr JW Lewin: Painter & Naturalist Keynote speaker: Professor David Mabberley, Executive Director, Royal Botanic Gardens. A panel will explore Lewin’s life and his influence on colonial art.

The beauty of botany: Drawing workshop
Join well-known artist and illustrator Beverly Allen for a two-day weekend workshop

The art of printmaking
NSW State Librarian Alex Byrne demonstrates traditional printmaking techniques, including intaglio and relief, and displays some of his etchings and linocuts.

Tuesdays in the Galleries
Enjoy free events in our Galleries during Lewin: Wild Art from 6 pm (Galleries open until 8 pm)

Bookings essential.
View all events and booking information

in residence

Join six established and emerging botanical artists at work weekdays in the State Library Galleries from 10 am to 2 pm:


  • Paula Church: 5–16 March
  • Sally Gibbs: 19–30 March
  • Beverly Allen: 2–5 April, 10–13 April
  • Deirdre Bean: 16–27 April
  • Rebecca Holmes: 30 April–11 May
  • Susannah Blaxill: 14–25 May

View artists' profiles and program

and more

View video commentaries on selected artworks.


Find a range of learning programs available for primary and secondary students.

Your art

Check out the beautiful drawings created by visitors to the exhibition. We will be adding more as the exhibition continues.

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