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A graphic depiction of an aboriginal funeral on the Murray River in the half light. The body is carried in a dugout canoe accompanied by six other canoes, one with a fire on board.

The artist John Mather, (1848-1916) came to Australia in 1878 from Scotland. He was a founding member and later president of the Victorian Artists Society. His work is represented in state galleries throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Engraved by Samuel Calvert. (1828-1913).

Wood engravings were first produced in Europe in the fifteenth century. During the late eighteenth century the process was re-introduced and used for inexpensive illustrated books. The nineteenth century publishing phenomena of the illustrated newspaper was made possible by use of the technique. The process allowed for the illustration and the text to be printed by a single pass through the printing press using the letterpress method.  It also made it possible for several engravers or even a team to produce and work on a single illustration at the same time.

A further developement to the technique was the addition of a lithographic tint block, almost exclusively used for supplementary illustrations loosely inserted into the published newspaper. Very few of these supplements survive. Graphic illustration was made possible with the simple addition of a tint block.

Produced by the Melbourne lithographic printers Charles Troedel & Co. and was included as a supplement to The Illustrated New Zealand Herald.


Tinted wood engraving.

305 x 432 mm. (Image size).







"A NATIVE FUNERAL" John Mather. 1886

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