This scientific illustration by Arthur Bartholomew was commissioned by Sir Frederick McCoy, Director of Museum Victoria as part of his zoological research. It forms part of the much larger Prodromus Collection. Many of the oriignal illustrations in the collection informed the production of the two volume work The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria which was Museum Victoria's first major publication from 1878. McCoy would bring speciemens to the laboratory adjacent to his lecture room at the University of Melbourne. They were tended and illustrated by his lecture room assistant, Arthur Bartholomew, whose delightful images of living specimens are among the collection's highlights. Bartholomew gave particular attention to the diagnostic attributes of each species, providing line drawings of the underside of the hand and foot, as well as the interior of the mouth.

The Prodromus project followed a popular formula of the time, seeking to identify and classify the natural wonders of the 'new world'. Such publications reached a peak in popularity with the work of John Gould in England and the earlier work of James Audobon in America. In Australia, many professional and amateur publications, including Aldine's systematic studies of the colonies and Louise Anne Meredith's Bush Friends From Tasmania, contributed to the genre. The publication of the Prodromus was an enormous undertaking, utilising the work of numerous artists, collectors, lithographers and publishers, over an extended period of time. McCoy died without completing his systematic study, but even at the time few believed that 'any of us will live to witness the completion of the work, if the entire Fauna of Victoria is to be illustrated.' Although costly in both financial and professional terms, it was met with critical acclaim and wide popular support. Financial battles were waged and lost by McCoy, but ultimately the Prodromus has stood the test of time and remains one of Museum Victoria's finest publications.

Description of Content

Growling Grass Frog, Litoria raniformis (Keferstein) by Arthur Bartholomew. Drawing - pencil, watercolour, ink and varnish on paper, 21cm x 28cm. Drawing 118 for Plate 53 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

  • Publisher

    Troedel & Co.

  • Artist

    Arthur Bartholomew, 10 June 1861

  • Medium

    Pencil, watercolour, ink and varnish on paper

  • Plate Number


  • Drawing Number

    118 & 119

  • State


  • Primary Inscriptions

    10th June 1861 / Ar. Bartholomew

  • Secondary Inscriptions

    [figure numbers for drawing 118 & 119]

  • Tertiary Inscriptions

    set off for yellow / set off for green [ileg] / 30th May 1861 [for figure 119] / more blue / in another specimen / yellow with wast of color by hand

  • Classification

    Scientific artwork, Illustration, Paper

  • Taxon Name

    Litoria raniformis

  • Author and date of publication

    (Keferstein, 1867)

  • Preferred Common name

    Southern Bell Frog

  • Other Common Names

    Growling Grass Frog Warty Bell Frog Green And Gold Frog

  • Kingdom


  • Phylum


  • Subphylum


  • Class


  • Subclass


  • Order


  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species Name


  • Category

    Natural Sciences

  • Discipline

    Scientific Artwork

  • Type of item


  • Framed

    848 mm (Width), 648 mm (Height)
    Art of Science, 6 items in single frame: PZ 42.1; PZ 42.4; PZ 53.4; PZD 113; PZD 114 & PZD 116.2

  • Overall Dimensions

    21 cm (Width), 28 cm (Height)

  • Maximum dimensions

    206 mm (Width), 278 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.