Grass Tree Plains, Victoria – c. 1840sBy Remembering the Past Australia / May 2, 2022 / Australia / 0 Comments
Engraving by James Charles Armytage after the sketch by John Skinner Prout of early Australian countryside in the 1840s, featuring the iconic Australian native Xanthorrhoea, sometimes known as ‘black boy’ for its tall black stalk that becomes covered with tiny white flowers.
“Australia” vol. I, 1873; Edwin Carton Booth F.R.C.I. with drawings by (John) Skinner Prout, N. (Nicholas) Chevalier, &c. &c.
About the Artist:
John Skinner Prout was born on 19 December 1805, in Plymouth England, the eldest child of John Prout and Maria Skinner. His father was the elder brother of the leading English watercolour painter Samuel Prout (1783-1852). In 1828 he married Maria Heathilla Marsh, also an accomplished painter and musician (harpist). They had eight children, four daughters and four sons.
In 1840 John Skinner Prout emigrated to Sydney, accompanied by his wife and eight children, arriving on 14 December 1840. He brought with him a complete lithographic printing press, and in early 1841 he started producing lithographed versions of his drawings of Sydney. For the next 3 years, he followed the route of many artists of the period, journeying west across the Blue Mountains towards Bathurst, south to Broulee and the Illawarra district, and north to Newcastle and Port Stephens. Returning from these travels, Prout would work up his sketches into finished works in lithographs, watercolour and oil paint for sale.
In January/February 1844 Prout moved to Hobart and began drawing a new lithographic series, Tasmania Illustrated. Here Prout was more successful, drawing the patronage of the Governor Sir John Franklin and his wife.
In June 1848 Prout and his family returned to England. Upon his return, at the Western Literary and Scientific Institution, Leicester Square, he exhibited his work on life in the Australian colonies and lectured on convicts, bushrangers and Aboriginals. He lived in London for the rest of his life.
From the collection of:
The British Library