Feather and Brush Edition 2

A History of Australian Bird Art

August 2022
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    2nd August 2022
  • ISBN 9781486314171
  • Language English
  • Pages 352 pp.
  • Size 8.46" x 12"
  • Images color illus throughout

Feather and Brush traces the history of bird art in Australia – from the simple engravings illustrating accounts of the earliest European voyages of discovery to the diversity of artwork available today. It explores the early European approach, in which naval draughtsmen, officers, convicts, settlers, naturalists, artists and scientists alike contributed both to the art and the science of ornithology, through to a wealth of contemporary artists who feature birds in their works.

This book contains more than 400 images, representing the work of 158 artists; some well-known, others published for the first time. The illustrations have been selected for their interest, whether ornithological, historical or artistic. They range from classical to quirky, decorative to functional, monumental to intimate. Together they demonstrate the rich history of Australian bird art, as it evolved in Europe and Australia, and continues today, along with the trends and technologies of the times.

This second edition includes new and revised chapters, and features about 200 new artworks, including some by Indigenous artists.

Cultural sensitivity
Readers are warned that there may be words, descriptions and terms used or referenced in this book that are culturally sensitive. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this book contains images and names of deceased persons.


  • Includes over 400 beautiful, full-color images, including some rare and never-before-published illustrations.
  • Features 158 artists, both historical and contemporary.
  • Explores the history of the role of bird illustration in ornithology, bird watching and conservation.
  • This second edition features revised text, additional chapters, and around 200 new artworks.
Features the contemporary artists:
Frank Thomson Morris; John Wolseley; Frank Knight; Humphrey Price-Jones: Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda; Pamela Griffith; Pete Marshall; Glenys Buzza; Syd Tunn; Peter Langdon; Gail Higgins; Richard Weatherly; Ona Henderson; Susan Skuse; Steve Morvell; Annelise Howes; Janet Luxton; Katherine Cooper; Peter Trusler; Peter Marsack; Nicolas Day; Kim Franklin; Peta Boyce; Elizabeth Cogley; Jeff Davies; Oscar Giammichele; Vida Pearson; Robert Mancini; Greg Postle; Catherine Lidden; E.A.O. Darby; Nicola Dickson; Brian Looker; Prue Sailer; James Hough; Sally Elmer; Philip Farley; Tony Pridham; Brett Jarrett; James Luck; Natalia Balo; Sally Edmonds; Robin Wingrave; Katherine Castle; Vanessa Richardson; Mel Hills; Emma Lindsay; Mal Chambers; Geoffrey Carran; Belinda Kurczok; William Ritchie; Sebastian Galloway

" A MUST have for anyone with an interest in bird art!"

- The BirdBooker Report

Cultural sensitivity warning
1. Introduction
2. New land, new birds: seamen and draughtsmen, 1600–1777
3. The escape of natural history study: convicts and officers, 1788–1800
4. Stirrings of an Australian sensibility: settlers and surveyors, 1800–1840
5. Through distant eyes: natural history artists in Europe, 1770–1840
6. A synergy of art and science: John and Elizabeth Gould and the Australia-based artist-cataloguers, 1840–1900
7. Family affairs: natural history artists in Europe, 1840–1940
8. Art and science estranged: inertia and an Australian field guide, 1900–1960
9. Art and science regroup: bird-lovers and conservationists in Australia, 1960–2000
10. Illustration for field identification: field guides and handbooks, 1920–2020
11. Art in the Anthropocene: Australian artists, 2000–2020
12. The contemporary artists
Alphabetical list of artists represented

Penny Olsen

Penny Olsen is an award-winning research scientist and author. She has written more than 30 books on Australia's natural history and its practitioners. Feather and Brush developed from her belief that Australia has a fascinating ornithological history, which is incomplete without full recognition of the contributions of artists and illustrators.

art; illustration; ornithology; birds; history; Australia