Watercolour and pencil illustration, and descriptive notes of a Red-bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus, from Studley Park, Melbourne, by Arthur Bartholomew. This work was commissioned by Frederick McCoy, the first Director of The National Museum of Victoria, for Plate 1 in 'The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria; Figures and descriptions of the living species of all classes of the Victoria indigenous animals'.

Bartholomew's illustration 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 Unfortunately, almost 90 plates in the collection remain unpublished, and hundreds of illustrations were either not completed or not printed.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

Red-bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus, by Arthur Bartholomew. Illustrations, D215 & D216, pencil, watercolour and wax on paper, 17cm x 26cm, for Plate 1 in The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria by Frederick McCoy.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria

  • Collecting Areas

    Scientific Art & Observation

  • Artist

    Arthur Bartholomew

  • Medium

    Watercolour and Pencil

  • Technique


  • Support


  • Plate Number


  • Drawing Number

    D215, D216

  • State


  • Primary Inscriptions

    [spec. number is adjacent to each of the details]

  • Secondary Inscriptions

    A. Bartholomew [morphological description in ink possible by another hand]

  • Classification

    Scientific artwork, Illustration and notes, Paper

  • Taxon Name

    Pseudechis porphyriacus

  • Author and date of publication

    (Shaw, 1794)

  • Preferred Common name

    Red-bellied Black Snake

  • Kingdom


  • Phylum


  • Subphylum


  • Class


  • Subclass


  • Order


  • Suborder

    Ophidia serpentes

  • Superfamily

    Xenophidia colubroidea caenophidia

  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species Name


  • Category

    Natural Sciences

  • Discipline

    Scientific Artwork

  • Type of item


  • Framed

    588 mm (Width), 435 mm (Height)

  • Overall Dimensions

    26 cm (Width), 17 cm (Height)
    Scientific Illustration - overall dimensions

  • Exhibition Collection Management

    225 mm (Width), 170 mm (Height)
    Scientific Illustration - overall dimension

  • Maximum dimensions

    254 mm (Width), 171 mm (Height)
    Measurement From Conservation.

  • References

    [Book Series] McCoy, Frederick. 1878-1890. Natural History of Victoria: Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria or Figures and Descriptions of the Living Species of All Classes of the Victorian Indigenous Animals. 1-2.
    [Article] Yen, Alan L., et al. 2001. McCoy's Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria: an unfinished task. Vic. Nat. 118 (6): 242-255.