Elizabeth Gould, zoological artist 1840-1848: unsettling critical depictions of John Gould's 'Laborious Assistant' and 'Devoted Wife'

Ashley, Melissa (2013) Elizabeth Gould, zoological artist 1840-1848: unsettling critical depictions of John Gould's 'Laborious Assistant' and 'Devoted Wife'. Hecate, 39 1&2: 101-122.

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Author Ashley, Melissa
Title Elizabeth Gould, zoological artist 1840-1848: unsettling critical depictions of John Gould's 'Laborious Assistant' and 'Devoted Wife'
Journal name Hecate   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0311-4198
Publication date 2013
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 39
Issue 1&2
Start page 101
End page 122
Total pages 22
Place of publication St Lucia, QLD, Australia
Publisher Hecate Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
During an eleven-year career (1830-1841) as a sketcher, painter and lithographer, Elizabeth Gould designed and composed more than 650 hand-coloured lithographic plates of birds: these included the 50 birds depicted in Charles Darwin's ornithology section of The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (1840); hundreds of lithographs of European species, and illustrated monographs about the popular novelty genera: the toucan and the trogon. In 1838 the British illustrator travelled to Australia with her husband, John Gould, a publisher, writer and ornithologist, to collect specimens for The Birds of Australia (1840-1848). The two-year project involved significant expenditure and risk; the Goulds' three youngest children, Charles, Eliza and Louisa, remained at home in London, in the care of their maternal grandmother. Between 1838 and 1840 Elizabeth, along with her eldest son, John Henry, resided in Hobart and Scone, where she completed sketches, drawings and paintings of the continent's bird species and flora. During her stay in Hobart, she gave birth to another son, Franklin Tasman. Unfortunately, Elizabeth did not live to see the completion of her research, since she died from puerperal fever in August 1841, following the birth of her daughter, Sarah, a year after her return to England. At the time of her death, Elizabeth had finished designs for 84 hand-coloured lithographs and an unknown number of preparatory drawings for the remaining 520 bird species the Goulds had surveyed and collected. The Birds of Australia, a seven-volume natural history of the continent's birdlife, featuring 600 hand-coloured lithographic plates, was an immediate success and the collection continues to be discussed and dissected today. Yet, in spite of Elizabeth's contributions, the work is usually celebrated as being from the hand of her husband, John Gould.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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