The Birds of Australia : in seven volumes / by John Gould. Click to enlarge image
Swift Lorikeet - John Gould volume 5. Image: Leone Lemmer
© Research Library

Elizabeth Gould accompanied her husband on a field trip to Australia between 1838 and 1840 and spent much of her time illustrating the native plants, many of which appear as backgrounds in the final bird plates. Elizabeth's original watercolour of the White Gum Blossom (Eucalyptus gibbosus) was probably done during her stay at Government House in Tasmania. Elizabeth later redrew the White Gum Blossom for the folio plate of the Swift Lorikeet (Birds of Australia) but uses a slightly different version of her drawing.

"I find amusement ad employment in drawing some of the plants of the colony, which will help to render the work on Birds of Australia more interesting... I trust we shall be enabled to make our contemplated work of sufficient interest to ensure it a good sale."

Elizabeth Gould, letter to her mother, 9 January 1839, Chsholm, A H (1944), The Story of Elizabeth Gould. Hawthorne Press, Melbourne

"I had the pleasure of seeing the lady at her pencil, and was surprised at the rapidity of her execution."
Charles Wilkes NSW 1839