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Kate

Kate Hughes

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: New South Wales Arts - Visual > Conservation And Restoration
Museums, Galleries And Libraries > Cultural
To undertake a physical analysis of core reference collection of dated First Fleet artworks - UK
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The Natural History Museum in London holds internationally significant collections of drawings made in the early years of the New South Wales colony. These collections collectively referred to as the First Fleet Collections include the Raper Collection, the Port Jackson Painter Collection and the Watling Collection, a total of 649 watercolours. The aim of the project was to document the materials in the collections to enable the discovery of any connections between the papers, watermarks and artist materials of the Natural History Museum’s First Fleet collections and collections in Australia.

The media, paper and condition of the drawings in the collections was surveyed over a period of eight weeks. The methods used to capture the information reported were visual assessment, digital photography, portable microscopy, the tracing of watermarks and X ray fluorescence analysis. The tracing of watermarks has created a 1:1 scale record of the watermarks which will allow them to be compared to watermarks in Australian collections.

This data will allow researchers a new way to explore these large collections. The watermark tracings allow the paper stocks to be compared to those found in Australian collections. This work creates a network of interconnected collections building evidence towards which collections were made in the colony. Access to the watermark tracings needs to be made available to researchers, this may be possible through digital publishing. The long term benefit of this research will be in the enriched understanding of the artistic community of colonial New South Wales.

 

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