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Coastal profiles of South Australia
Title : Coastal profiles of South Australia Coastal profiles of South Australia
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Creator : Westall, William, 1781-1850
Source : A voyage to Terra Australis ... , Atlas, plate 15
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Libraries Board of South Australia
Date of creation : 1966
Additional Creator : Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814
Format : Book
Catalogue record
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William Westall's coastal profiles for Matthew Flinders's voyage of discovery cover Cape Catastrophe, the Flinders Ranges, Cape Jervis and Kangaroo Island. The first profile shows Cape Wiles which was discovered and named on 18 February 1802. It marks the western end of Sleaford Bay with Liguanea Island to the south west. The second of this series of coastal profiles shows Cape Catastrophe, with Williams Island to the south. This cape was named for the accident that occurred here when the lives of the ship's master John Thistle and seven other seamen were lost. The nearby islands were named for the seamen lost with him when their cutter overturned in the dangerous tidal eddies off the cape. Thistle Island is the third profile. The dramatic peaks of the Flinders Ranges are the fourth profile. Flinders named only Mount Arden and Mount Brown. Kangaroo Island's Kangaroo Head forms the fifth profile on the sheet: this is near modern day Penneshaw. Cape Jervis is the final coastal profile for South Australia. In the days before photography the depiction of newly discovered coasts in coastal profiles was a valuable aid for later navigators on these coasts and enabled them to determine with greater accuracy where they were.

William Westall was still a student at the Royal Academy when he was selected as the landscape artist for the Flinders' voyage of discovery. At nineteen years of age, he was the youngest member of the scientific staff on the Investigator. Westall was born on 12 October 1781 at Hertford in England, and was taught drawing by his elder half-brother, an established and successful artist and teacher. It was expected that as the landscape artist to the expedition, Westall would paint landscapes and figures that would clearly delineate Australia and its inhabitants. He was responsible also for recording the coastal profiles that would benefit later navigators. Westall's output for the southern Australian leg of the voyage was not as rich as might be expected for an artist on the 'unknown coast'. It has been said that he was not inspired by the drab Australian bush, and this can be seen in his sketches, which he frequently merged to produce something more picturesque. He certainly produced a greater body of work on the eastern and northern coasts. When Flinders returned to England aboard the Porpoise, Westall returned with him, and some of his work was damaged in the wreck off the coast of Queensland. Westall decided to continue his return to England via China, while his drawings were taken on to England. He returned to England in 1805, prepared a painting for a Royal Academy exhibition, and later travelled to Madeira and Jamaica. He painted nine pictures for reproduction in Flinders' Voyage to Terra Australis (1814). In his later life, he exhibited his work from time to time, but was never a successful artist. He died on 20 January 1850.

Related names :

Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814

Westall, William, 1781-1850

Coverage year : 1802
Place : South Australia
Further reading :

Flinders, Matthew, A voyage to Terra Australis ... Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1966

The Encounter, 1802: art of the Flinders and Baudin voyages [compiled by] Sarah Thomas Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002

Findlay, Elisabeth, Arcadian quest: William Westall's Australian sketches Parkes, A.C.T.: National Library of Australia, 1998

Westall, William, Drawings by William Westall, landscape artist on board H.M.S. Investigator during the circumnavigation of Australia by Captain Matthew Flinders, R.N., in 1801-1803 London: Royal Commonwealth Society, 1962

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State LIbrary of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-



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