Special Collections Showcase
1st May, 2023 - 23rd June, 2023

This exhibition explores the lithographs by Robert David Fitzgerald from the monograph series Australian Orchids. The fourteen superbly detailed and coloured lithographs on display celebrate the creativity, technical mastery, and scientific knowledge of Australian botanical illustration in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Fitzgerld was a surveyor, engineer, and public servant, as well as a committed naturalist whose botanical work spanned the gap between amateur and professional botany and gained scientific acclaim.

Between July 1875 and October 1882, Fitzgerald released seven volumes of the Australian Orchids. Fitzgerald took twenty-four years (1875-1894) to complete this series. Together with lithographer Arthur James Stopps these volumes were published. Under Fitzgerald’s instruction, many artists hand-coloured each intricate lithograph plate using Fitzgerald's own coloured sample sheets.  

The exhibition invites you into the world of all things orchid, including botanical illustrations of the variants and interesting facts we bet you didn’t know. To celebrate UTS Drawing Circle's 10th anniversary, current members of the club will contribute contemporary artworks in response to Fitzgerald’s research in celebration of this incredible flower.

A live-drawing event will take place alongside the exhibition on Friday, 5 May, in which members and guests of UTS Drawing Circle will come together and take inspiration from the lithographs to create their own works. Giving new life and meaning to Fitzgerald's original pieces.

Four parts of the second volume of Fitzgerald’s Australian Orchids resides in UTS Library's Special Collections, the digitised copies can be viewed in full here.

Student contributors: Natalia Ysabelle Tang, Kota Okuda, Evelyn Phuong, Christen Marcelo, Sophia Ngyuen, Xavier Hodge, Angela L, Jackie Leong, Katherine Li, Lachy D, Isabelle Aitken, Kyle Reyes, Ashlea Gray, Ralph Coloma, Mila T, Thorne Blackman, Jieun Suh, Patrick Edmonds, Florence Chang, Olivia Yu, Katie Bayne, Skye Snelson, Stefania Nataniel, Liana, Andrew, Aishd, Cielle, David, Zoe Scoufis, Leah, Jenny