A highly skilled miniaturist, Becker entered into the minutiae of the scenes and animals he depicted. His drawings were often accompanied by annotations in an attractive and expansive script that utilised visually charged language.
Frederick McCoy encountered Becker early in his career, among Melbourne's small circle of scientific gentlemen. Becker's illustrated papers for the Proceedings of the Philosophical Institute must have made a positive impression, as McCoy considered the potential contribution Becker might make to his own more ambitious project to illustrate the zoology of Victoria.
In 1858 McCoy engaged Becker to create lithographs at a rate of £10 per plate. Some of the animals, such as the Australian Fur Seal and the Death Adder, appear to have been collected by Becker himself, while the Polyzoa, over which he had protracted and highly agitated correspondence with McCoy, was apparently a more direct commission.
While Becker seemed to have been continually aggravated by the Professor's tardy payments, McCoy in contrast appears to have held Becker in high regard, referring to him posthumously as 'the late and clever observer and artist'.
Becker's enthusiasm led him to join the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition in Australia's north. Exhausted and suffering from scurvy, his death from dysentery at Bulloo in south west Queensland in 1861 appears attributable to Burke's enmity and poor leadership. Becker's record of the journey stands as perhaps the greatest visual record of an expedition to inland Australia, his premature death robbing Australia of one of its most inspired colonial artists.
In addition to the sketches and lithographs commissioned for the Museum, a small collection of Becker's fish and fossil studies came into the Museum collection. Together they provide a rich insight into his previously neglected zoological observations.