Australia, Mt Sefton and The Hooker River, c1886

Australia, Mt Sefton and The Hooker River, c1886

Regular price $60.00 Sale

Print from Garran's The Picturesque Atlas of Australasia

Date: c1886

Artist: Schell Frederick B

Publisher: Picturesque Atlas Publishing Co

Paper Size: 140 x 190mm

Condition: good

Technique: Wood Engraving

Price: $60

Description: Wood Engraving with later hand colouring

Provenance:

The Picturesque Atlas of Australasia 

Published in Sydney in 1886-88, the enormous, multi-volume 'Picturesque Atlas of Australasia' was an attempt with words and pictures to describe the Australia of the time.

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Its publication was one of the most significant cultural projects in 19th-century Australia. Writers, artists, academics, and politicians came together to prepare a book of unprecedented grandeur and ambition, and a publishing company was established to publish it. The 1100+ engravings on steel and wood contained in the Picturesque Atlas were among the finest engravings to be found anywhere in the world at this time, and many of the illustrations were specially commissioned works by leading Australian artists of the era, for the publication.

There are thirty maps in the Atlas's 800 pages, plus hundreds of sketches. The word 'picturesque' was popularised by William Gilpin, for it was he who really popularised the idea of traveling in search of picturesque views. Picturesque took on an increasingly acquisitive edge, as admiration of the beauty of the land was joined by a concern to exploit it. A 'deep reverence for production' can be seen in the Picturesque Atlas's many illustrations of mines, factories, and agricultural processes. The slag heaps of a mine were now as 'picturesque' as a fern-filled valley.

Of the hundreds of images included in the Atlas, you will find street scenes, monuments, churches, hills, seaside, farms, horses, scrub, country towns, ships, daily life activities, headstones, bridges, people, caves, aborigines, and mountains just to mention a few.

Though the Atlas was heavily dependent upon illustrations as its main selling point, these were set within texts describing the landscape, industry, and city streets. Photography was invented at the time of publication, and it has been said that a number of the engravings in the book were based on photographs, but it was chosen to use the engravings instead, even though it could take weeks to engrave on an 18 x 2.5cm block. By doing this just adds to the uniqueness and high quality of this publication.

A unique and valuable historical record of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.
Place of publication was in Sydney.

Biography:

Frederic B. Schell was born in Philadelphia in 1838 and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1862 Fred B. Schell became a Special Artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News, a New York newspaper. In 1863, Frank Leslie assigned him to General Ulysses S. Grant’s army at Vicksburg. Grant was a U.S. general and commander of the Union armies during the late years of the American Civil War. Schell's work is well known in the States. 

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Fred was brought out to New Zealand to produce views for Garran's THE PICTURESQUE ATLAS OF AUSTRALASIA. This three-volume set was made to mark 100 years of Australia’s settlement.

He was active in Australia and New Zealand from 1886-1889 and passed away in the States in 1902, in New York.

Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Schell, Jr. in 1992 donated Fred's work to the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, including a beautiful watercolour painting Mt. Cook, Hooker River after a storm.  Inscribed in pencil, LR, "Mt. Cook/ Hooker River after a storm/ Mar. 25/87". Inscribed on reverse in pen, "33". Watercolors such as this one were on-site studies, which would later be translated into wood engravings to illustrate volumes for armchair travelers. Volume II is online and contains the South Canterbury etchings. Frederic Boley Schell Jr. died 1 September 1993 Sarasota, Florida.