John Skinner Prout (1805-1876)born in England Prout emigrated to Australia in 1840 with his wife and seven children. He soon became involved in the colonial life as a commercial artist, lecturing and publishing his own series of lithographs titled , Sydney Illustrated and Tasmania Illustrated in 1844-1846. His time in Tasmania teaching drawing, sketching and watercolours created interest and fostered a number of colonial amateurs. He is represented in all major institutional collections.
This fine engraving by the John Skinner Prout is from the original edition of Edwin Carton Booths, series titled, “Australia Illustrated”, produced soon after the the discovery of gold in Australia. The great interest created by the gold discovery created a a demand from prospective emigrants and the wealthy who wanted to invest in Australia and needed information on the colony. This series intended as an elaborate and exhaustive survey took ten years to produce. A number of artists were commissioned to provide sketches and drawings for this monumental endeavor, many accompanied the Duke of Edinburgh who traveled to Australia on board the H.M.S. Galatea.
Frederic B. Schell (1838-1902) was born in Philadelphia on 5th March 1838 and died New York 26th May, 1900. An American artist, Schell was brought out to produce views for this series which was made to mark 100 years of Australia’s settlement. He was active in Australia from 1886-1889.
This engraving is from the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia which was the most ambitious publishing venture in Australian history up to the 1900s. It was conceived and financed by American publishers under the name of the Picturesque Atlas Publishing Co Limited, Sydney and Melbourne. Its ambitious aims of using the best artists, the best paper, the finest printing engraving techniques and for it to be the most comprehensive survey of Australia's colonial history ensured that it inevitably was doomed to be a financial failure. The legacy that it left on the other hand was some of the finest engravings and maps printed in Australia in the C19th.
The Illustrated Sydney News, which was published from 1854 to 1889 included a number of high quality engravings to illustrate the accompanying news and articles. It was issued on a monthly basis due to the time consuming process of having to engrave each illustration which would take an engraver between one and two weeks to make each one.