UNKNOWN ARTISTGeorge STUBBS, An animal found on the coast of New Holland called Kanguroo Enlarge 1 /1



Great Britain 1724 – 1806

print after

An animal found on the coast of New Holland called Kanguroo 1773
Collection Title: Hawkesworth, John. 'Account of the voyages undertaken ... for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere'. London: Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773.
Page: plate 20, facing page 561
Place made: London, Greater London, England
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper line engraving, printed in black ink, from one copper plate Support: paper
Edition State: published state
Impression: undesignated impression as issued
Edition: print run unknown

Dimensions: plate-mark 19.8 h x 24.3 w cm sheet 22.8 h x 26.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased from Gallery admission charges 1985.
Accession No: NGA 85.1699
Subject: Australia, Animal: Kangaroo Australia, Art period: Pre-European settlement, to 1778 Voyages of exploration and discovery 1600-1900: English
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney, 1985.

Following his discovery of the eastern coast of Australia in 1770, Captain James Cook returned to England to a scientific community amazed by his expeditions and by the extraordinary birds, plants and animals collected during the Endeavour’s voyage.

One of the most peculiar specimens of all was a kangaroo, depicted in this engraving by the British animal painter and etcher George Stubbs. Working from a specimen and drawings by ship’s artist Sydney Parkinson, Stubbs’s image aroused great curiosity when it appeared in 1773 in Hawkesworth’s first official account of Cook’s voyages. Hawkesworth commented:

‘As I was walking this morning at a little distance from the ship, I saw myself one of the animals which had been so often described: it was of a light mouse colour, and in size and shape very much resembling a greyhound ... and I should have taken it for a wild dog, if instead of running, it had not leapt like a hare or deer …1

Anne McDonald

1John Hawkesworth, An Account of the Voyages taken by the Order of His Present Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and Successively Performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn up from the journals which were kept by the several commanders and from the papers of Joseph Banks, Esq., London: printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773, vol.3 (Book 2), pp.561, 577.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002