An image of The Gigantic Lyllie of New South Wales

J W Lewin

(England, Australia 1770 – Aug 1819)

The Gigantic Lyllie of New South Wales

Not on display
Further information

This winter and spring flowering lily grows in abundance in the rocky bushland of the Sydney region from Wollongong to Port Stephens. 'Gymea' is its Aboriginal name. At least three other studies of the Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa) by Lewin are known - two in the Mitchell Library (State Library of NSW) and another offered at auction by Christie's, London 26 September 2002 (67). In his book 'A narrative of a visit to the Australian colonies' (London, 1843), the visiting English Quaker and missionary James Backhouse noted that Australian Aborigines roasted and ate the lily's stem.

excerpt from Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, '19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels in the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005

pencil, watercolour on cream laid paper
53.8 x 43.1 cm borderlines; 54.1x 43.6 cm sheet; 68.0 x 57.5 x 4.0 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pen and black ink "I.W. Lewin .../ 1810.".

Purchased 1968
Accession number