Truth & Beauty: The Australian botanical works of Ferdinand Bauer Exhibition Launch – December 2016

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling (R) is joined by renowned Bauer expert – Emeritus Fellow, Wadham College, University of Oxford, Professor David Mabberley AM and Ms Sheila McCarthy.

Earlier this month many of our supporters and donors helped us to celebrate the exhibition launch of Truth & Beauty: The Australian botanical works of Ferdinand Bauer currently showing at the Flinders University City Gallery. This exhibition has been created in partnership with the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Botanic Gardens of South Australia and co-curated by Fiona Salmon, Tony Kanellos and Madeline Reece who describe the focus of the exhibition:

“Ferdinand Bauer (1760 – 1826) was an Austrian born botanical draughtsman. At the turn of the 19th century he was one of six scientists selected to join Captain Matthew Flinders in the scientific expedition that would chart Australia’s coastline and document its flora and fauna. Bauer returned to England in 1805 with sketches of more than 1500 plants. This exhibition draws on the McCarthy Collection of prints and illustrated publications by and about Bauer and plant specimens from the State Herbarium to explore the fusion of art and science in his remarkable work.”

On the opening night guests heard from co-curator Fiona Salmon, Director of the Flinders University Art Museum, about the wonder and privilege of unearthing these works for public display as well as her own personal links to Captain Matthew Finders (1774-1814). Read more here.

A number of works on display were generously gifted by Shelia McCarthy in the name of her late husband Dr Lance McCarthy (1932-2015). Dr McCarthy was a long-standing physicist at Flinders University, who understood Bauer’s significance ahead of many others, and we thank Shelia and her family for sharing these treasured works with Flinders University and the public.

Another great contributor to the exhibition are the University of the Third Age who have assisted Flinders to acquire a number of the engravings enriching the exhibition and indeed the Flinders art collection.

Dr Lucy Sutherland, Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia spoke about the significance of the historic flora and fauna record, and the great value of the exhibition as a learning tool.

To celebrate the opening, Bauer expert and world-leading English botanist Emeritus Professor David Mabberley AM gave guests insights into Bauer’s ingenious painting by numbers technique, born out of necessity to quickly draft the plants he saw on the expedition. His number catalogue of over 1000 colours committed to memory could then be applied to the works on paper when he returned to London.

Truth & Beauty truly encapsulates the impact that can be made when our supporters contribute their “time, talent and treasure”. This beautiful display is a direct result of our generous supporters, who received a special thanks and acknowledgment on the night from the Vice-Chancellor Colin Stirling. We hope you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition or view the gallery here.

Presented in association with Truth & Beauty walking tours will be held in the Botanic Gardens over January and February 2017 find out more here.


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