Colonial Journals and Their Artists single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2014 2014
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

‘The very early colonial Australian journals were visually lain, with the covers showing little adornment beyond the typography of the journal’s title or perhaps a patterned border or a few generic flourishes in the corners. By the late 1830s, however, editors were drawing on the skills of local artists and designers. According to Frank S. Greenop, James Tegg’s Literary News (12 August 1837-3 February 1838) was the first colonial journal to include an illustration, an image from Australian natural history: ‘Apart from being a creditable weekly publication, the Literary News left behind it one innovation: it had broken the even type measure of its column to include in one issue an illustration which was engraved on wood, a picture of a platypus illustrating an article describing the creature. Only once before had a magazine included an illustration, and that was the lithographic frontispiece which appeared in some issues of the Hobart Town Monthly. Not long afterwards, however, colonial journals began to employ local illustrators to develop their visual content, livening up the printed page. The Short-lived Arden’s Sydney Magazine (September – October 1843) highlighted its association with the immigrant lithographer and painter J.S. Prout: ‘we’re inclined to hope’, George Arden wrote, ‘that Mr Prout’s connection with our literary labours will not be disadvantageous to his fame as an Artist’. Prout’s sketch for the first issue, ‘The Tank Stream, Sydney, 1843’, is generically typical of the kinds of illustrations found in the journals around this time. They give realistic black-and-white snapshots of aspects of colonial urban development (the Tank Stream had provided fresh water to Sydney in the early days of the colony), bush landscapes, local natural history and portraiture. In fact, they work precisely as precursors to documentary photography – which made its way into the colonial journals much later on, towards the end of the century.’ (Authors introduction : 197)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y The Colonial Journals : And the Emergence of Australian Literary Culture Rachael Weaver , Ken Gelder , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2014 6855653 2014 multi chapter work criticism

    'Colonial Australia produced a vast number of journals and magazines that helped to create an exuberant literary landscape. They were filled with lively contributions by many of the key writers and provocateurs of the day - and of the future. Important Australian writers such as Marcus Clarke, Rolf Boldrewood, Ethel Turner and Katharine Susannah Prichard published for the first time in these journals. In The Colonial Journals, Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver present a fascinating selection of material: a miscellany of content that enabled the 'free play of intellect' to thrive and, matched with wry visual design, made attractive artifacts that demonstrate the role this period played in the growth of an Australian literary culture.' (Publication blurb)

    Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2014
    pg. 196-220
Last amended 26 Jun 2014 10:22:02