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The view illustrates the P&O steamer, Ceylon, being towed by the paddlewheel tugs and another steamship off a sandbank in Port Phillip Bay, near Melbourne.

Wood engraving  150mm x 229mm.

Published in The Australasian Sketcher.  1875.



Wood engravings were first produced in Europe in the fifteenth century. During the late eighteenth century the process was revived 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 both 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.


All the major artists of the period contributed to the illustrations. Some papers acknowledged the artists on the plates but The Australasian Sketcher appears to have had a policy of anonymity. They all had distinctive house styles. Where known, we have included the artist’s name.


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