Lost Newcastle’s #PostcardPatrons reward for August features a stunningly printed image from 1886 of Newcastle as seen from Nobbys Head by Frederic B Schell.
Schell travelled to Australia and New Zealand in 1886 with a small group of other American artists and engravers and for the next three years, was art editor of the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia.
This beautiful hand-coloured engraving (Lost Newcastle collection) was made by artist Frederic B Schell (1838 – 1900) in 1886. Born in Philadelphia, he was assigned as an artist to General Ulysses S Grant’s army at Vicksburg, ‘where he drew the desperate hand-to-hand combat of the second futile assault by Union troops on May 18 and detailed scenes of the subsequent siege of the city’.
From the era of ‘travel atlases’ and subscriptions, the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia was established in Sydney in 1885 by the same American publishers of Picturesque Canada. A huge three-volume publication, the atlas contained over 800 engravings on wood.
For $10 guineas (around $1200 today), paid in instalments, subscribers eventually received 42 supplements between 1886 and 1889.
The Atlas artists celebrated the sophistication of Australasia’s capital cities and major regional centres with townscapes rivalling the urbanity of London, Paris and New York. Such rapid progress led the Atlas to predict that ‘within the next half century Australasia will have taken her place amongst the great nations of the earth’, ‘even’, added Julian Ashton, ‘in matters of art’. It may be little remembered today, but its iconography lives on in the iconic works of Australian impressionism. – National Library of Australia
His work is held by institutions including:
- National Library of Australia
- National Gallery of Australia
- Royal Collection Trust UK
- Getty Museum Lost Angeles
- State Library New South Wales
- State Library of Victoria
Lost Newcastle patrons help support the continuing sharing and preserving of local history stories and photos by Novocastrians that show their own family histories in our city and Hunter Valley region.
You can become a Lost Newcastle patron for just $3 per month or $6 per month to become a postcard patron and receive a beautiful, retro postcard direct to your letterbox every month. Keep it yourself, or post it to a friend!
Lost Newcastle is also a proud supporter of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund at the University of Newcastle Special Collections, and an annual donation is made on behalf of Lost Newcastle members to help the archives continue their work digitising local collections.