Mammals of Australia Click to enlarge image
Mammals of Australia - feathers collection Image: Stuart Humphreys
© Australian Museum

Henry Constantine Richter came from a family of renowned artists and artisans and was an excellent draughtsman and lithographer.

The Birds of Australia : in seven volumes / by John Gould.
Common Heron - Ardea leucophaea Photographer: Australian Museum Photography © Australian Museum Research Library Image: Leone Lemmer
© Research Library

When Elizabeth Gould died in 1841, John Gould hired Richter to help with the drawing and lithographic work previously done by his wife.

Over the next seven years Richter used the skins and drawings John and Elizabeth had brought from Australia to produce the majority of the 681 plates for The Birds of Australia. Richter was also responsible for all the plates in the A Monograph of the Macropodidae or Family of Kangaroos and The Mammals of Australia.

Mammals of Australia
Derby's Wallaby Halmaturus derbanius Photographer: Australian Museum Photography © Australian Museum Research Library Image: Stuart Humphreys
© Australian Museum

Richter also worked with Gould on drawings and plates for Partridges of America, Family of Hummingbirds, Family of Toucans, The Birds of Great Britain and The Birds of Asia. Richter also illustrated many of the plates in Gould's highly successful Family of Trogons, in which most of the plates have at least one bird in flight - displaying their beautiful plumage.

His best work for Gould is considered to be the The Birds of Great Britain. While Josef Wolf contributed drawings to this volume, Richter produced over 300 of the 367 plates, sharing the lithography with William Hart.

Over the course of his 40 year career he was responsible for more than 1600 hand-colored lithographs, mostly done for Gould.