Ferdinand Lucas Bauer (20 January 1760 – 17 March 1826) was an
Austrian botanical illustrator who travelled on Matthew Flinders'
expedition to Australia.
2 See also
5 External links
Bauer was born in
Feldsberg in 1760, the youngest son of Lucas Bauer
(?–1761) – court painter to the
Prince of Liechtenstein
Prince of Liechtenstein – but
was left fatherless in his first year of life. The eldest son was the
successor to their father's position. Together with two of his
brothers, Joseph Anton and Franz Andreas, he was placed in the custody
of Norbert Boccius (1729–1806), a physician and botanist who was
Prior of the monastery at Feldsberg. Under the guidance of Boccius,
Bauer became an astute observer of nature and was just 15 when he
began to contribute miniature drawings to Boccius' collection. In
1780, Franz and Ferdinand were sent to Vienna to work under the
direction of Nikolaus von Jacquin, an eminent botanist and Director of
the Royal Botanical Garden at Schönbrunn Palace. There, Bauer was
introduced to the Linnean taxonomic system, the field of microscopy,
and took lessons in landscape painting.
In mid-1786, on the recommendation of Jacquin, Bauer accompanied the
John Sibthorp as an artist on a field trip to Greece
and Asia Minor. They returned to England in December 1787 with over
1,500 sketches of plants, animals, birds and landscapes, some of which
appeared in Flora Graeca. The Latin introduction to this work states
"Sibthorp took with him a painter of excellent reputation, Ferdinand
Bauer, whose merits our illustrations demonstrate." Joseph Hooker
called Flora Graeca, with its 966 superbly hand-coloured
illustrations, "the greatest botanical work that has ever appeared"
(On the Flora of Australia, London, 1859).
Bauer later travelled to Australia with
Matthew Flinders as botanical
draughtsman. He was one of six scientists selected by Sir Joseph Banks
to accompany Flinders on his circumnavigation of Australia. He worked
under the direction of botanist Robert Brown, and in addition to
botany, Bauer was to draw zoological subjects. His exacting standard
of work earned him the admiration of both
Matthew Flinders and Robert
Brown. In a letter to Banks from Port Jackson, dated 20 May 1802,
Flinders offered this praise: “[It] was fortunate for science that
two such men as Mr Brown and Mr Bauer have been selected, their
application is beyond what I have been accustomed to see." Writing to
Banks ten days later, Brown reported that Bauer had made 350 plant
sketches and 100 of animals, and had "indeed been indefatigable and .
. . bestowed infinite pains on the dissections of the parts of
fructification of the plants.”
Bauer, intent on capturing accurately the tone and shading of his
specimens, but unable to carry with him the range of colours needed,
covered his preliminary sketches with colour numbers. Banks was
intrigued by Bauer's precision, and in January 1806 wrote that they
"were prepared in such a manner by reference to a table of colours as
to enable him to finish them at his leisure with perfect accuracy".
Banksia coccinea, Plate 3 from Illustrationes Florae Novae Hollandiae
In June 1803, while Flinders returned to England in order to obtain a
replacement for the Investigator, Bauer remained in Australia. He went
Norfolk Island for eight months and also undertook excursions to
Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the south coast of New South Wales.
Bauer returned to England on the Investigator, accompanied by 11 cases
of drawings containing 1,542 Australian plants, 180 Norfolk Island
plants, and over 300 animals. After Bauer's return to England on 13
October 1805, the Admiralty continued to employ Bauer to allow him to
publish an account of his travels. Bauer worked on the Illustrationes
Florae Novae Hollandiae for five years, doing all the engraving
himself. He also contributed ten plates to Flinders' Voyage to Terra
From 1806 to 1813, 50 sets of Bauer's Illustrationes were published in
three parts. Unfortunately, the publishing venture was a failure, and
in August 1814 Bauer returned to Vienna, but continued to do much work
for English publications including Lambert's Pinus and Lindley's
Digitalis. He acquired a small house in Hietzing near the Schönbrunn
Botanical Garden and spent his time painting and making excursions
into the Austrian Alps until shortly before his death from dropsy on
17 March 1826.
The bulk of Bauer's finished paintings was acquired by the British
Admiralty. In 1843 they were transferred to the British Museum
together with additional paintings that Robert Brown had bought from
Franz Bauer. Most of the sketches, as well as the herbarium and a
collection of skins, were acquired by the Austrian Imperial Museum and
are now housed in the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
Whereas Bauer's brother, Franz, is remembered both by a portrait and a
memorial in Kew,
Ferdinand Bauer himself has no portrait or stone to
commemorate him other than a mention in Franz's epitaph in St Anne's
Chapel in Kew: “In the delineation of plants he [Franz] united the
accuracy of a profound naturalist with the skill of the accomplished
artist, to a degree which has been only equalled by his brother
Bauer's biographer, John Lhotsky, whose purpose in writing Bauer's
biography was to revive interest in the man and his work, suggested in
1843 that Bauer's name would "long live in the recollections of
posterity" because of his drawings, the genus
Bauera that was named
after him, and Cape Bauer in South Australia, named by Flinders.
But soon after his death, although acclaimed by his contemporaries as
the greatest of botanical artists, Bauer's name was almost forgotten.
He was single-minded and obsessional about his work and had no time or
talent for self-promotion, which may go some way to explaining his
long years in the historical wilderness.
Lhotsky did revive Bauer's name, but his brief biography remained the
only source of information about the naturalist-painter for the next
100 years. Bauer's gained some prominence in the 1970s with the work
Wilfrid Blunt and
William Stearn in their publication The
Australian Flower Paintings of
Ferdinand Bauer (Basilisk Press, 1976).
The 1988 Bicentenary brought original Bauer paintings to Australia for
the first time, where they were shown in three exhibitions, including
"First Impressions" shown at the Australian Museum. In April 1989 the
first monograph about Ferdinand Bauer's Australian voyage appeared,
Ferdinand Bauer: the Australian Natural History Drawings. Drawing on
both the English and Austrian collections, it also reproduced all of
Bauer’s known letters in translation. In 1985, 100 uncatalogued
animal sketches by Bauer were found in Vienna, and some of them were
included in the monograph.
Bauer’s sketched the flora and fauna of the Australian coast and
Norfolk Island, and left behind a wonderful visual record. In an essay
on flower painting written in 1817, Johann Goethe devoted two pages to
an analysis of one of Bauer’s drawings: “ . . . we are enchanted
at the sight of these leaves: nature is revealed, art concealed, great
in its precision, gentle in its execution, decisive and satisfying in
its appearance”. His work has lasting important because of his
craftsmanship, aesthetic sense and scientific accuracy.
This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation F.L.Bauer when
citing a botanical name.
List of Australian botanical illustrators
List of Austrian artists and architects
European and American voyages of scientific exploration
^ Place name search: Cape Bauer Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback
Machine. Gazetteer of Australia.
^ Brummitt, R. K.; C. E. Powell (1992). Authors of Plant Names. Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-085-4.
Hu Walsh (2003-10-23). "Ferdinand Lukas Bauer". Rare books. Missouri
Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2007-08-17. production costs were
excessive so only a limited number of volumes saw the light of day.
Yet Stearn (7:34), ranks Flora Gracea as a masterpiece of printing,
engraving, color and design, and notes, "...it is the most costly and
beautiful book devoted to any flora." (see Stearn 1960)
Stearn, William T. (1960). "
Franz Bauer and Ferdinand Bauer, masters
of botanical illustration". Endeavour (First series). 19:
Serle, Percival (1949). "Bauer, Ferdinand Lucas". Dictionary of
Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
Pignatti-Wikus, Erika; Reidl-Dorn, Christa; Mabberley, David (2000).
"Ferdinand Bauer's field drawings of endemic Western Australian plants
made at King George Sound and Lucky Bay, December 1801 – January
1802. I: Families Brassicaceae, Goodenaceae p.p., Lentibulariaceae,
Campanulaceae p.p., Orchidaceae, Pittosporaceae p.p., Rutaceae p.p.,
Stylidaceae, Xyridaceae". Rendiconti lincei: Scienze fisiche e
naturali. s.9, v.11 (2): 69–109.
Mabberley, David J.; Pignatti-Wikus, Erika; Riedl-Dorn, Christa
(December 2000). "Ferdinand Bauer's field drawings of endemic Western
Australian plants made at King George Sound and Lucky Bay, December
1801 – January 1802. II". Rendiconti Lincei. Milan: Springer. 11
(4). ISSN 1720-0776.
Dwight, Florence (March 2001). "In Honour of Ferdinand Bauer".
Australian Plants online. Association of Societies for Growing
Australian Plants. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009.
Retrieved 29 December 2008.
Edwards, Ian (March 2001). "
Ferdinand Bauer 1760–1826". Palm and
Cycad Society of Australia. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
Orchard, A.E. (1999). "Bauer, Ferdinand L. (1760–1826)". Extracted
from Flora of Australia. Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria.
Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 29 December
Blunt, W. & Steam, W., The Australian flower paintings of
Ferdinand Saner, Basilisk Press: London, 1976.
Lhotsky, J., Biographical sketch of Ferdinand Bauer, natural history
painter to the expedition of Captain Flinders, R.N., to Terra
Australis, J. Bot. 2: 106, 1843
Mabberley, David, Ferdinand Bauer, the Nature of Discovery, Merrell
Holberton and the Natural History Museum, London, 1999, 128 pp.
Mabberley, David J. and Moore, David T., Catalogue of the Holdings in
the Natural History Museum (London) of the Australian Botanical
Ferdinand Bauer (1760–1826) and Cognate Materials
Relating to the Investigator Voyage of 1801–1805, Bulletin of the
Natural History Museum, 29(2), 81–226, London, 1999.
Norst, Marlene, Ferdinand Bauer: the Australian Natural History
Drawings, British Museum of Natural History/Lothian, London/Melbourne,
1989, 120 pp.
Norst, MJ., Austrians and Australia, Athena Press, Sydney, 1988
Pomfrett, Jo Anne (May 1998). "An exquisite eye : the drawings of
National Library of Australia
National Library of Australia News. VIII (8): 3–8.
Archived from the original on 2012-01-20.
Watts, Peter, Pomfrett, Jo Anne and Mabberley, David, An Exquisite
Eye: the Australian Flora and Fauna Drawings 1812–1820 of Ferdinand
Bauer, Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997, 167 pp.
Bauer, Ferdinand (1760–1826) National Library of Australia, Trove,
People and Organisation record for Ferdinand Bauer
View more biographical information about and digitized titles by
Ferdinand Bauer in Botanicus.org
Macquarie University – Dr.
Marlene Norst demonstrating Ferdinand
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferdinand Bauer.
ISNI: 0000 0000 7374 3252
BNF: cb13612101x (data)