photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
This photograph, by Henry King, shows the aviary that was situated in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens from 1856 until 1940. The initial bird collection included cockatoos, parrots, pigeons, sparrows, finches, Chinese pheasants, ducks, quails, English skylarks, blackbirds, thrushes and a black macaw. Although difficult and expensive to maintain, (many of the birds died, escaped or were stolen), the aviary was a popular attraction.
In this careful composition King uses architecture as a framing device and extended depth of field to create a sense of perspective. Two figures, a man positioned midway and a woman with an umbrella near the end of the avenue, help to draw the viewer’s eye into the image and to give scale to their surroundings.
Many of King’s best known views of Sydney date from the 1880s and by 1890 his work was held in high regard throughout the colonies. Melbourne photographer John William Lindt stated in print on his letterhead of 1891: ‘Sole Agents for Henry King’s celebrated views of New South Wales.’
The Powerhouse Museum Tyrrell collection includes 1,334 photographs by Henry King.
Photography by Henry King. Tyrrell Collection.
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