Richard BROWNE, The mountain pheasant Enlarge 1 /1

Richard BROWNE

Ireland 1776 – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1824

  • Australia from 1811

The mountain pheasant 1819 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: drawings, graphite; ink; paper; watercolour drawing in watercolour and pen and black ink over black pencil Support: paper

Primary Insc: Signed and inscribed lower left in pen and black ink, 'drawn by R. Browne No 29 Philip St' . Dated and inscribed lower right in pen and black ink, 'Sydney New South Wales 1819'. Titled lower centre in pen and black ink, 'The Mountain Pheasant'.
Dimensions: image 28.0 h x 21.8 w cm sight 31.9 h x 26.0 w cm sheet 33.4 h x 27.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1973
Accession No: NGA 73.661
  • Purchased by the Acquisition Committee [Australian National Gallery], from Clune Galleries, Sydney, 1973.

Browne specialised in making drawings of Aboriginal people and of Australian fauna after he moved to Sydney in 1817. The lyrebird or ‘mountain pheasant’ was one of the stock delineations of which Browne made a number of copies. While at Newcastle, he had illustrated a manuscript on natural history compiled by Lieutenant Thomas Skottowe, the commandant in Newcastle. Neither the illustrations to that text nor his Sydney drawings are distinguished for their scientific accuracy. Nonetheless, Browne often achieved the effect of graceful design such as in this drawing of the lyrebird perched on a rock.

Anne McDonald1

1 Compiled from Roger Butler, ‘John Lewin: Birds of New South Wales with their Natural History (1813)’ in National Gallery of Australia: An introduction to the collection, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 1998, p.2 and Andrew Sayers, Drawing in Australia: Drawings, water-colours, pastels and collages from the 1770s to the 1980s, Melbourne: Oxford University Press and National Gallery of Australia, 1989, p.28.

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