History Archive > Views in Australia or New South Wales (1825)

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


Date: 1825



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Lycett, Joseph. Views in Australia or New South Wales. London : J. Souter. 1825.


Lycett, Joseph (1825) Views in Australia or New South Wales. London : J. Souter.


Lycett, Joseph, Views in Australia or New South Wales. London : J. Souter. 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.

List of Images

1. Title Page

2. Book Display

3. Book Display

4. Bathurst Cataract on the River Apsley

5. Beaumont's Lake

6. Beckett's Fall on the river Apsley

7. Ben Lomond from Arnold's Heights

8. Botany Bay, New South Wales

9. Burwood Villa

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

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

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

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

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

Publication Information

Publisher: London : J. Souter



ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-01-11

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