This aquatint was printed in 'Views in Australia or New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land' (1825) by Joseph Lycett. It was first published in thirteen parts on a subscription basis by J Souter and subsequently as one volume.
Botany Bay, the site of Captain Cook's visit in 1770 and of the First Fleet in 1788, is shown in this work. It is represented as being an untouched land with Indigenous people at a fire and on the water in the foreground. In the far distance, two ships are the only evidence of European presence.
SignificanceBotany Bay entered the consciousness of Europeans after Cook's visit to the area in April 1770. Even after the site of the settlement was shifted to Port Jackson, Botany Bay continued to be referenced as a destination for convicts, and the area was immortalised through songs and poems.
HistoryBotany Bay was first visited by Europeans in April 1770 as part of Captain Cook's first Pacific voyage. It was here that botanist Joseph Banks first collected and documented specimens of Australia's unique flora and the area was named 'Botany Bay' as a consequence. Cook believed the area could be used as a possible base for any potential settlement and Botany Bay was the destination of the First Fleet when it left Britain in 1787. However, when Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at the bay in January 1788 he found a lack of fresh water and unsuitable soil. He therefore moved the site of the settlement to a harbour further north, Port Jackson, where the colony of Sydney was established on 26th January, 1788.
Joseph Lycett, a professional painter of portraits and miniatures, was transported to New South Wales, as a convict, for forgery in 1814. Following his conditional discharge in 1819 he travelled and painted landscapes in the two colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, adopting the role of unofficial government artist (Wantrup) After gaining an absolute pardon in 1821, he returned to England, and found a publisher to produce his views in 13 monthly parts between July 1824 and June 1825. Demand immediately proved strong enough for the proposed lithographic plates to be replaced by aquatints. On completion of the parts issue, the work was published in book form. Wantrup calls Lycett 'the outstanding artist of his period in Australia’ and his publication 'a landmark in the development of the Australian illustrated book'.
Primary title: Botany Bay, New South Wales
Web title: Botany Bay, New South Wales