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Amaryllis belladonna

Painting of two flowers, white fading to pink at the tips, growing from a brown stem with a few small yellowish buds. Inscription at bottom centre reads, "Amaryllis belladonna."

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)

Painting of a small bird with dark head and back, light belly. Perched on a branch with very little foliage, no other background. Inscription at bottom centre reads, "Ashy swallow-shrike (Artamus fuscus)."

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)

Mounted painting of a pair of birds, one brown and spotted, the other dark brown and black (with beak open), perched on a branch over a river with dense foliage in the left background and flat ground with palms and a building in the right background. Inscription below painting reads, "Koels [with male and female glyphs] (eudynamys honorata)."

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)

Mounted painting of a juvenile long-legged black and white stork on flat background and faint indication of the sea.

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Baillon's crake (Zapornia pusilla)

Painting of a small, reddish brown bird with pale, striped belly, back and wings with darker spots and edges. Minimal background of flat brown dirt, large grey rock, and very few plants. Inscription in bottom centre reads, "Eastern Bailon's Crake (Torzana pusilla)," along with, "Rallus," firmly pencilled in lower right corner.

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus)

Mounted painting of a white goose with two black bars on the back of head, standing by the water with wood and foliage, with a full landscape background with temples in the far left. Inscription below painting reads, "Bar-headed goose (anser indicus)." Another in lower right corner reads, "Anas."

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Bay-backed shrike (Lanius vittatus)

Painting of a small, colourful bird with black face mask, blue head cap and orange back, light peach chest and belly, and black wings and tail. Perched on branch and closely surrounded by foliage with some distant trees in the background as well as a beige foreground (though not the whole paper). Inscription at bottom centre reads, "Bay-backed shrike (Lanius vittatus)."

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807


The series consists of 121 watercolour paintings of birds, created by Elizabeth Gwillim while she was living in Chennai, India (then Madras). The birds were painted from life rather than from the skins or stuffed specimens used by many artists of her day. Many paintings feature their avian subjects within a full landscape. Some paintings contain inscriptions with species identifications and, occasionally, additional observations about the birds.

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

Painting of a small female bird with brown-black head and wings, with red back, tail, and belly. Perched on small rock with diverse foliage and no other background. Inscription heavily pencilled in lower right corner reads, "Motacilla."

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

Painting of a small male bird with black head, neck, and shoulders. Belly, back, and tail are shades of red, while the wings are striated red and black. Standing on a plain beige ground. Extensive lightly pencilled notes at bottom of painting.

Gwillim, Elizabeth, 1763-1807

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