Illustrator Ferdinand Bauer painted Australian plants with a palette of over 1,000 colours

The Science Show


We mentioned the Genius Ferdinand Bauer just now and the beautiful book by David Mabley here is botanist professor David Mabley formerly of Oxford now in the blue. Mountains on bowers crucial role in Australia. In May seem strange in today's digital world to learn the botanical artists are still illustrating newly described species of plants and that organizations like the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney still employ people to do something, which is in effect unchanged in three hundred years. The invention of photography in the eighteen thirties by William, Fox Talbot and Wiltshire England. Incidentally is first. So called photogenic drawings were plants. Would logically seem to have seen of this activity. But on the contrary, the genre has never been stronger and more popular than she is now. Indeed the work of today's Australian botanic losses. Mainly, women is considered among the most accomplished desirable in the world. Technical illustration attempts to provide a melding of scrupulously accurate scientific investigation with the flair and technique of the individual artist. The most distinguished examples transcend mere illustration to become fine art. Today almost all of this is studio work as the camera has obviated the need to draw plants in the field. But of course, this is not always been so. Before the invention of photography ships on voyages of exploration besides carriages, horses, mules, and camels on overland expeditions carried artists to record coastlines, lunch skips, antiquities, peoples, and animals as well as plants. Tenant James Cook's endeavour voice to the Pacific Seventeen Sixty eight to seventy carried to such office both of whom perished before the end of the expedition. Under the direction of Joseph banks a paying passenger on the ship. The young Quaco Sydney born Sylvester Parkinson prepared hundreds of drawings of animals and plants besides landscapes and people after the other artists died. When in eighteen o one banks pushed for a voyage to circumnavigate Australia to be led by Matthew. Flinders, he chose to accompany him the best natural history painter available the Austrian Ferdinand Bauer to draw the animals and plants. Bow was remarkable his technique because unlike Parkinson, he had no need to use paint pigments in the field. He had perfected a color coding system allowing him to make rapid field sketching pencil of the animal or plant. But rather than apply paint, he added numbers each of these numbers signifying a particular shade of color. For the flinders voyage, he had a system with a thousand different shades, for example, two hundred shades of green alone. The idea was the tone has returned to Europe. He then paint by numbers to produce a colored image based on his drawing. Liberated. By reference to press plant material, he gathered on the voyage. Only he knew the code only he could do this. The question is whether by character physical color chart. There were several in use in central Europe at the time or his system was all in his head. No physical code has ever been found. And such would have been cumbersome in the field. Banging mind the dozens of drawings he made each day on the voyage. The conclusion is that it was indeed in his head. His system used rather than the way musical notation is interpreted by instrumentalists. This astonishing capability was at a man who was scarcely Detroit and suffered a form of dyslexia. Certain obsessive aspects of his behavior and the difficulties he had managing personal relations suggests that he was lacking autistic. There is no known portrait of him and like his botanical artists brother friends who became resident artists Q. Gardens in England suggesting that he may have had some physical disfigurement to. What survives this awkward man however is what has been widely considered to be the finest botanical art ever executed before the prison century. But. Just fifteen images his Australian work were published in his lifetime. Only nine thousand nine hundred nine was published his entire set of Australian plant watercolors competed in London for the British admiralty. In one, thousand, nine, hundred, Eighty, seven, a selection of those with some of the animal drawings he worked out for himself. Exhibited in the Museum of Sydney and the most populous show the museum had had up until then. Only in recent years then has it been possible for the public to see by bow has the reputation he has amongst scientists. Using the painting by numbers technique under the critical I we would now call his line manager Robert. Bram banks is curator librarian and arguably the greatest botanist of the nineteenth. Century. Power produces breathtaking life-sized drawings. When doing these once he's not just a pedestrian illustrator churning out scientific images but much much more. Power combined meticulous scientific accuracy and a boldness of lime with a sensitivity. So cute. Perhaps his remarkable mind enabled him to recall the appearance of the very plants. He had hastily sketched in Australia years before that, the image comes to live in an almost disarming way. Exquisite depiction of the subtle nature of shininess. O'hare. INNIS. The passing of one color into another. The three dimensionality of the flowers and fruits with a seductive arrangement of his material. Albeit in the standard colored image on white of the botanical tradition combined to achieve a of sophistication that had not ever been reached before and is only now being equal. David Mabley formerly director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney his book painting by numbers on the work of Ferdinand Bauer is simply sublime. Next week on the sign show the first woman to sail around the world. Production Sancho by David Fisher I'm Robin Williams.

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