Contributions to the AICCM National Conference 2013, Adelaide 23-25 October


This paper presents the preliminary phase of an in-depth research and conservation treatment project by the Garling Conservator of the Derby Collection which was acquired by the State Library of New South Wales in 2011 with the support of TAL and Dai-ichi Life and the State Government of New South Wales. The collection consists of six bound volumes that were compiled by Aylmer Bourke Lambert and is comprised of 745 watercolours of Australian natural history subjects including works by and after Thomas Watling, the Port Jackson Painter, The Sydney Bird Painter, and others with the majority dating from the late 18th century.

The objective of the project is to investigate and document the entire Derby collection, including a condition survey, photographic documentation, develop a conservation treatment strategy and to perform technical analysis. The watermarks have been documented through transmitted light photography to establishing connections of paper stock across the Derby Collection and related collections at State Library of New South Wales and National Library of Australia. This research supports curatorial research into the history of the Derby collection and related collections. The research is ongoing with X-ray Fluorescence analysis set to commence and treatments underway in preparation for a 2014 exhibition at the State Library of New South Wales. This project involves collaborations between the Garling conservator, curatorial staff, foundation staff and exhibitions staff along with the engagement of Foundation members, library visitors and colleagues from the National Library of Australia.

Key words: First Fleet, Natural History illustrations, watercolours, watermarks

AICCM National Conference 2013
Paper author:
Kate Hughes