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The fascinating and little-known story of Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826) has been brought to life by Professor David Mabberley, one of the world’s leading botanical scholars, in collaboration with the State Library of NSW, the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, the Natural History Museum London the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew; the Linnean Society of London, and the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
Professor Mabberley’s lavish new book Painting by Numbers: The Life and Art of Ferdinand Bauer (NewSouth Publishing) surveys the pioneering work of Bauer, considered the world’s greatest natural history artist, and reveals his extraordinary colour-coding system.
The book is supported by a ground-breaking website, developed by the State Library’s DX Lab, where visitors can view more than 300 works by Bauer – published together for the first time – and explore how he used his signature palettes to turn his field drawings into detailed studio watercolours.
The Painting by Numbers book and website will be launched at the Library on Thursday 16 November at 6pm.
Painting by Numbers is the third major natural history research project at the State Library made possible through the generous long-term support of Peter Crossing AM and Sally Crossing AM through their Belalberi Foundation.