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A Brilliant Touch

Adam Forster's Wildflower Paintings

written by Christobel Mattingley

National Library of Australia | ISBN 9780642277176

Hardback – 180 pages


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Adam Forster was not only an artist, he was a naturalist whose dearest aim was to learn more of the wonders of an Australia which he loved so much. Adam Forster (1848–1928) began life as Carl Ludwig August Wiarda in East Friesland (Germany). After serving in the Franco-Prussian War, he spent many years as a businessman in South Africa. From there, he migrated to Sydney, in 1891, changing his name to create a more acceptable identity in the British colony. A few years later, Forster was appointed Registrar of the Pharmaceutical Board, an office he held for over 20 years until his retirement. However, it is Forster’s passion for the flora of his adopted country that is the focus of A Brilliant Touch. Forster was a skilled, self-taught botanical artist whose goal was to paint one thousand species of Australian wildflowers. To this end, on weekends, he travelled all over the Sydney region and country New South Wales to sketch and collect plant specimens. The National Library of Australia has over 900 of Forster’s superb watercolours, 90 of which are presented in A Brilliant Touch as full-colour plates. A portfolio of these paintings follows a short biography of Forster by award-winning author Christobel Mattingley.

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