EXHIBITS: First Impressions

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Science  02 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5740, pp. 1467
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5740.1467a

After their ships hove into Sydney Harbor in January of 1788, the first British colonists in Australia ran low on food and supplies. But they still managed to render some 600 drawings and paintings of the unexplored continent's landscape and natural history. Browse these early views of Oz at the First Fleet Artwork Collection from the Natural History Museum in London. The Rembrandt of the colony's artists is Thomas Watling, a trained painter who had previously applied his talent as a forger. For zoologists and botanists, the works capture some of the first views of Australia's unusual plants and animals. For anthropologists, illustrations such as a portrait of an aboriginal man named Balloderree provide the only records of the local Eora people, who died out within 20 years of the settlers' landing.


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