The Natural Sciences Technical Illustration Collection is a small but vibrant and valuable collection, significant in two distinct areas of Australian scientific illustration: painting and sketches (c. 500 artworks) and other images (c. 2000 lantern slides). It has a particular emphasis on birds, fishes, plants and mammals.
The collection is of high national and to some degree international significance as it contains works by J.J. Audubon, Eric Hochberg, Zhou Siqing, N.H.P. and N.W. Cayley, Frank Knight and Peter Trusler; and includes the museum’s own Prodromus.
The lantern-slide images taken mainly by A.G. and A.J. Campbell between the late 19th and early 20th centuries are extremely significant as they allow researchers access to earlier periods to examine local environments and people.
Wildlife art provided a contact between scientists and amateurs for several centuries. Good technical illustration gives an interpretation that the written word often fails to do.
Collection items hold value for their historical context and continuing scientific attributes, and are an important insight into aspects of the artistic talents of many naturalists as well as accomplished artists.