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Art of the Convicts

Art of the Convicts

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This book examines convicts who for various reasons turned to works of art. In most cases this was often a matter of luck, as one of the convicts might be assigned to an official who was interested in natural history and/ or wanted landscapes done so that educated readers in the British Isles could actually see the animals, the fishes, the plants, the natives and the scenery of this new land. There are a number of books either done by or written about a particular convict artist, and some convicts might have contributed to a section of an album produced by one of the enlightened individuals in the colony and made available for British consumption. There has been one major contribution on convict art, and that is the work of Jocelyn Hackforth-Jones, entitled The Convict Artists. She has biographies of the nineteen convict artists that she researched, and examples of their work. It is a major step forward. The convict artists she analyzed were nineteen in number, They were, in the order of presentation, Thomas Bock, Charles Henry Theodore Costantini, William Harrison Craig, William Paul Dowling, John Eyre, Joseph Backler, Walter Preston, Richard Brown(e), George Edward Peacock, Knud Bull, Fred Strange, William Buelow Gould, Philip Slaeger, Richard Read Senior, Joseph Lycett, Thomas Griffiths Wain(e)wright, Thomas Watling, Charles Rodius and John William Lancashire. We concur with the selection, but we have added four more convict artists, Francis Fowkes , Charles Bruce, James Walsh and T.H.J.Browne. The biographies and the selected art are our own research. So we have analysed some twenty-three convict artists, and the possibility is that there may be others.