William Buelow Gould
Trained by William Mulready R.A. and influenced by 17th Century
Dutch painters before being transported to van Diemens Land for
theft in 1827, W. B. Gould painted native flora and fauna while
serving his time as an assigned servant in that colony. After
receiving his ticket of leave in 1835, Gould, who frequently lapsed
into bouts of the alcoholism that had led him to crime in the first
place, continued to earn a modest living from his painting.
Combining accurate draughting skills with an attractive
composition that makes full use of the vibrant colour of the birds'
plumage, this still life with its golden overtones is of historical
as well as artistic interest. It features many birds that
were commonly found in the island colony but which were already in
danger from the onslaught of European settlement. These
include the Fantail Cuckoo, the Pardalote, a Swift parrot, Bronze
wing pigeon, Whistler, Bassian Thrush and Honeyeater.
Arranged so that their wings are outstretched and their bodies
overlap, the birds are accompanied by a long barreled gun, possibly
a flintlock, in a manner reminiscent of 17th Century Dutch still