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This chromolithographic print was made after an original watercolour by James Whitley Sayer for Rev. J.J. Halley's A Monograph of the Psittacidae or Parrot Family of Australia (1871). The lithographer of this plate is unknown, although the colour printing is known to have been done by Hamel & Ferguson of Melbourne. The domestic setting and use of strong colour in the work suggests an artistic rather than scientific interpretation of the cockatoo by Sayer. Rev. Halley envisioned his monograph on Australian parrots as a multi-part volume, however only one part, including the three plates reproduced here, was published due to a lack of subscribers. Halley was not the only naturalist working in Australia at this time to suffer similar financial constraints. Organisations such as the Field Naturalist Club of Victoria (established in 1880) existed partially to stimulate wider public interest in natural history. Halley himself was President of this club between 1885 and 1887, and commented on a growing interest in science and natural history in his presidential address of 1885. At the time that he was working on his monograph, however, Halley was possibly less impressed by the public's enthusiasm for natural history. Only a small number of copies of this work were ever printed due to financial constraints. Of these only four are known to exist today, making it a work of great rarity.

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