Views in Australia or New South Wales & Van Diemen's Land Delineated, in Fifty Views


Date: 1825



Dedicated to The Right Honourable Earl Bathurst, His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, Views in Australia was Lycett's first attempt to give the British public an impression of the grandeur and beauty of Australia. With a particular focus on New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, it comprised fifty stunning color plates, each one, according to the book's advertisement, an absolute facsimile of the scenes and places visited and drawn by Lycett.

Joseph Lycett was born c. 1774 in Staffordshire, England. Although he worked as a professional portrait painter and miniaturist, he was convicted in 1811 of forgery and transported to Australia for a term of 14 years. He arrived in Sydney in 1814 where, somewhat ironically, he was employed as a clerk in the police office. Just 15 months into the job, Lycett was again convicted of forgery, when the office was flooded with skillfully forged 5-shilling bills. They were traced back to Lycett, who had in his possession a small copper-plate press. He was sent to the penal colony of Newcastle where his work as a legitimate artist attracted the attention of Commandant James Wallis, who had captained the 'General Hewitt', upon which Lycett had originally sailed to Australia. At Wallis' request, Lycett drew up the plans for a church which was built in 1818. He then painted the altar piece and likely also the window which still survives in the bishop's vestry of Newcastle Cathedral. On Wallis' recommendation, Lycett received a conditional pardon. An absolute pardon followed in 1821, possibly a reward for three of his drawings that Governor Lachlan Macquarie sent to Lord Bathurst, Secretary of State for the Colonies, in England.

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In 1822 Lycett departed for England where he set about producing a book of Australian landscapes. Two years later, the London publisher, John Souter, issued the first of Lycett's Views in Australia. There were to be twelve monthly parts, each with two aquatint views of New South Wales and two of Tasmania with descriptive letterpress. There was also a supplement which contained maps of both colonies. The colored parts to the series were sold for 10 shillings, 6 pence, whilst the uncolored parts were sold for 7 shillings. Although the first six plates were lithographs, Lycett and his London publisher soon realized that aquatint would be better and they were re-issued as such with later plates produced in the same medium. When all of the parts were completed they were bound together and sold as Views in Australia (1824-25).

Though he spent eight years in Australia, just how widely Lycett travelled is debatable; it's possible he didn't even make it to Tasmania. In her 1992 biography, Jeanette Hoorn suggests that Lycett based much of the Views' text on W. C. Wentworth's 1819 Statistical, historical, and political description of the colony of New South Wales and its dependent settlements in Van Diemen's Land. Its pictures also appear to rely heavily upon the works of others, the Tasmanian plates corresponding to the places that Governor Macquarie visited in his 1821 trip with explorer and artist George William Evans. Certainly, the watercolors that he completed whilst in the colony had a more realistic style, closely resembling those of his fellows. Landscapes that he added back in England, however, had a much more romantic feel. In many ways, they failed to truly capture the character of the Australian landscape, assuming what, at the time, was a more acceptable English parkland look. Nevertheless, his works were elegant and had a certain charm that appealed to contemporary taste.

The majority of the plates in Views in Australia are landscapes, with a number of them depicting colonial settlements too. Country estates also feature regularly, along with important landmarks such as Government House. Some of the most impressive illustrations include the township of Sydney, which Lycett describes as being "built on the extremity of a cove" and which he considered to be "one of the safest in the world'; the view of Botany Bay as taken from the south side of Cook's River; the township of Parramatta, the south end of which he described as a "delightful spot" which was originally called Rose Hill; the "wild, yet grand" River Wingee Carribbee; the view of Hobart Town; the "magnificent" Mount Wellington; and Cape Pillar, a promontory which was considered "an excellent sea-mark for ships sailing to this remote part of the world". He went on to describe its peculiar shape which could scarcely be mistaken, for there was "no other object in any respect similar to it" and how it acquired its name because the rock bore a resemblance to the pillars of a gothic cathedral.

1. Title Page
10. Cape Pillar
11. Distant View of Hobart Town
12. Distant View of Sidney
13. Kissing Point, New South Wales
14. Lake Patterson, near Patterson's Plains
15. Liverpool, New South Wales
16. Mount Direction near Hobart Town
17. Mount Dromedary
18. Mount Nelson near Hobart Town
19. Mount Wellington near Hobart Town
2. Book Display
20. Newcastle, New South Wales
21. North View of Sidney, New South Wales
22. Parramatta, New South Wales
23. Raby, A Farm Belonging to Alexander Riley
24. Ram Head Point, Port Davey
25. Residence of Edward Riley, Wooloomooloo
26. Residence of John McArthur
27. Roseneath Ferry
28. Salt Pan Plain
29. Scene up the River Huon
3. Book Display
30. The Sugar Loaf Mountain
31. The Table Mountain
32. View from near the top of Constitution Hill
33. View from the Top of Mount Nelson
34. View of Captain Piper's Naval Villa
35. View of Hobart Town
36. View of Lake George
37. View of Port Macquarie
38. View of Roseneath Ferry taken from the East Side
39. View of Tasman's Peak
4. Bathurst Cataract on the River Apsley
40. View of the Female Orphan School
41. View of the Governor's Retreat, New Norfolk
42. View of the Head's at the Entrance to Port Jackson
43. View of the South End of Schouten's Island
44. View of Wilberforce
45. View of Windsor
46. View on the Macquarie River
47. View on the River Tamar
48. View on the Wingeecarrabee River
49. View Upon the Napean River
5. Beaumont's Lake
50. View Upon the South Esk River
51. Western or Boundary Lake
52. A Map of New South Wales
53. A New Map of Van Diemens Land
6. Beckett's Fall on the river Apsley
7. Ben Lomond from Arnold's Heights
8. Botany Bay, New South Wales
9. Burwood Villa

Publisher: London : J. Souter



ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-01-11

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