State Library of South Australia

South Australia Illustrated: The Art of George French Angas

See some of the earliest views of South Australia by a European through the beautiful colour images of artist George French Angas.

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Born in 1822, he was the eldest son of George Fife Angas, after whom the South Australian town Angaston is named. However, the young Angas rejected his father’s world of commerce and farming to follow a life involving art and nature, studying natural history painting and lithography before embarking on his travels.

Arriving in Adelaide in January 1844, he rapidly set about an extensive series of journeys to the Murray Lakes, Barossa Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula and the South East, capturing his impressions of the young colony – its landscapes, inhabitants and flora and fauna. After a trip to New Zealand, he returned to South Australia in 1845 and travelled to Port Lincoln.

With his impressive portfolio of watercolours, he then sailed for London and in 1847 published the magnificent folio South Australia illustrated, which has served ever since as a ‘snapshot’ of South Australia in 1844. The book contains 60 plates with accompanying text.

Angas returned to South Australia in 1860 but ended his years in England where he published several books on Australia and Polynesia as well as illustrating accounts of exploration by John McDouall Stuart and John Forrest. He died in 1886.

For more information, visit State Library of South Australia