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Australian art

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The variegated lizard of New South Wales



J W Lewin

England, Australia

1770 - Aug 1819


John Lewin arrived in New South Wales in 1800 with an innate curiosity about the natural world. He made a large number of botanical drawings and collected specimens that formed the basis of two of the earliest books on the fauna of the colony. 'The Variegated lizard of New South Wales' is one of a number of drawings Lewin made for Governor Bligh. Its high state of finish and landscape setting suggest it was intended for public view and is among a number of presentation drawings Lewin made during his career.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000




Media category


Materials used

pencil, watercolour, opaque white, gum on paper


26.3 x 45.3 cm sight; 75.0 x 91.5 x 4.2cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pen and black ink "JW Lewin A.L.S./ Dem. 23. 1807".


Edward Stinson Bequest Fund 1990


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

J W Lewin

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Tim Bonyhady, The colonial image: Australian painting 1800-1880, Canberra, 1987, 7 (colour illus.).

Deutscher Fine Art (Sydney), Australian art: colonial to modern, Sydney, 1986, (colour illus.). lot no. 3

Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 19 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Animals on paper - from the Australian collection of prints, drawings and watercolours, Sydney, 1992. 25

Hendrik Kolenberg., Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection, 'Introduction', Sydney, 1991, (illus.). not paginated, 34

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Australian images from the past: whether rarely seen or familiar, these works move and delight us', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Apr 2005, 24.

Susan McCulloch, Alan McCulloch and Emily McCulloch Childs, The new McCulloch's encyclopedia of Australian art, Carlton, 2006, 613 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, The artist and the patron - aspects of Colonial art in New South Wales, Sydney, 1988, 132 (colour illus.), 133. 114

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 10-16, Sydney, 2000, 10, 17, 19 (colour illus.), 301.

Andrew Sayers, Drawing in Australia: drawings, water-colours, pastels and collages from the 1770s to the 1980s, Melbourne, 1989, 21 (colour illus.).