F. C. Bunbury (Early 19th Century) Koala Bear
F. C. Bunbury (Early 19th Century)
Ink with sepia wash on card
Signed: FCBunbury and titled “Kaola” Native Bear
Card size: 5 3/8” x 3 3/8”
At the time that Bunbury created these delightful pen and ink drawings, the animals were new and exciting additions to our knowledge of the animal world. Although Australia was discovered during the early 1600’s and the Dutch had begun to systematically chart the continent’s waters, its true discovery did not occur until Captain Cook’s voyage in 1770. The first kangaroo to be exhibited in the western world was an example shot by John Gore, an officer on Captain Cook’s Endeavour. The emu was first described under the name of the New Holland Cassowary in Arthur Phillip’s Voyage to Botany Bay, published in 1789 and in 1798 John Price was the first European who described koalas. The species received its scientific name, phascolarctos cinereus, in 1816.
Drawn during the early nineteenth century, these pen and ink drawings are remarkable portraits of the most recognizable of Australia’s wildlife. Although drawn in a single sepia color, Bunbury has shown great ability in capturing the nuances of tone and in describing the plumage or fur of each of his subjects. The behavioral characteristics of each of his subjects are also delicately rendered, whether it be the stiff and awkward stance of the Emu or the shy Koala firmly grasping a branch while hiding from a foe below.