An Australian Frog
Happy new year! I had a bit of a break over Christmas and I'm back in my normal job after a fabulous couple of months on the fellowship. I will continue with the Whiteboard project in my own time, so progress will be slower but there are still lots of wonderful things to draw. The last thing I finished before Christmas was a diabolical frog, after Frederick Polydore Nodder, from The Naturalist's miscellany vol. 6, by George Shaw, [1790-1813]. He is installed in the Finance department, level 5, Armstrong building.
The following text accompanies the illustration in the Miscellany:
THE AUSTRALIAN FROG
This animal certainly cannot be numbered amongst the most beautiful of its genus, it is a species however, which has never before been described, and is more peculiarly interesting from the circumstance of its being native of the distant region of New Holland, which has added so many zoological treasures to the cabinets of natural history. Its rarity must therefore apologize for its deformity
I suspect Mr Nodder's rendering bore little resemblance to the the real thing but it is wonderfully lively despite its "deformity". There is a naivety to the image which makes it hard to believe it is the same artist that produced such careful studies of banksia cones. I guess in those days curious cones traveled better than pickled frogs. I went for a chunkier, looser technique with this image, in keeping with its primordial subject. As usual the whiteboard markers fought me tooth and nail as I tried to bend them to my will and drag density and tone out of them.
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Dominique Dunstan is a reference librarian and artist. She works at the State Library of Victoria and has recently completed the Jane Nicholas Staff Fellowship.