Drawing on Nature—images and specimens of natural history
Part cabinet of curiosity, part bestiary, Drawing on Nature featured curious, exotic and fabulous stories about nature, where fish are likened to parrots and zebras, apples are named after a nineteenth-century European statesman, a Murray cod appeared caught in a glass case for ninety-nine years, and a human body is found in a canoe.
Like fables of old, the exhibition's stories challenged the visitor to stop and reflect on nature. It told how some artists, like John James Audubon in America, were uplifted by nature, celebrating, delighting and exulting in the exotic vegetation and birds of the American South, even likening the hummingbird to 'fragments of the rainbow', and, with a quirkiness of personality, placing bees in his painting for the amusement of the black cuckoos.
From the collection of the Museum of Victoria