Colour proof of a Black Bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri, from Mordialloc Creek, Port Phillip, 1865, with Arthur Bartholomew as both artist and lithographer. This work was commissioned by Frederick McCoy, the first Director of The National Museum of Victoria, for Plate 4 in 'The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria; Figures and descriptions of the living species of all classes of the Victoria indigenous animals'.

McCoy misidentified his specimens as Chrysophrys australis, The Australian Bream, noting that it "is common in the Gippsland Lakes as well as Hobsons Bay". He regarded Bartholomew's illustration to be the first published image of the Australian Breams. However, what is now called the Yellowfin Bream, Acanthopagrus australis, is a rare visitor to the Lakes, being much more common on the east coast of Australia. The Black Bream, which was not described until 1949, commonly occurs in the Lakes where it completes its entire life cycle.

This proof forms part of the much larger Prodromus Collection. Many of the original illustrations and prints in the collection informed the production of The Prodromus, the first major publication of the National Museum of Victoria. Between 1878 and 1890, McCoy published his zoology 'Prodromus' as 20 parts in two volumes, with each part comprising 20 plates. Unfortunately, almost 90 plates in the collection remain unpublished, and hundreds of illustrations were either not completed or not printed.

Description of Content

Black Bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri, by Arthur Bartholomew. Colour proof, lithographic ink & pencil on paper, 19 x 28cm, published as Plate 4 in The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria by Frederick McCoy.

More Information