English painter and engraver
was an English artist who travelled aboard HMS Investigator on her voyage to Australia. Westall was born in Hertford, England. Westall, like the other botanical artist on HMS Investigator Ferdinand Bauer, was born into an artistic family. His older half brother Richard, was a member of the Royal Academy, and assisted him in securing a place for his younger half brother at the Royal Academy in 1799. During his studies at the Royal Academy Westall's work came to the attention of Joseph Banks, who was at the time keen to find a landscape artist for Matthew Flinders' expedition aboard HMS Investigator. With the support of Banks, Westall was appointed by the Admiralty in London as landscape and topographical artist on HMS Investigator. In 1801, at the age of 19, Westall found himself aboard HMS Investigator. The subsequent voyage of discovery to Terra Australise, has in time come to be regarded as one of the notable scientific and botanical studies ever undertaken. William Westall, King George's Sound in Albany, Western AustraliaWestall began sketching the Australian coast, south of Cape Leeuwin and later on Monday 7 December 1801, King George's Sound, Western Australia, thereby becoming one of the first professional artists to draw the Australian landscape painting. Many of the sketches that Westall created were coastal profiles, to assist with the important task of mapping Australian coastline. The subsequent circumnavigation of Australia took Westall from Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia, across the Great Australian Bight to the South Australian gulf country, to Kangaroo Island, and thence to Port Jackson and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Particularly notable amongst the works created by Westall during the voyage are his accurate portraits of Aboriginal people and the watercolours of their cave paintings, the first European artist to depict the cave paintings.
Gulph of Carpentaria
1811, oil on canvas, 88.0 x 100.0 cm) by William Westall (1781?C1850).