An unsigned two-colour watercolour on paper, with the ink caption mounted below the image (image size 75 × 140 mm, visible paper size 105 × 160 mm).
Mounted behind a double window mat, framed and glazed; in fine condition. Irish-born Richard Ernest Minchin (1831-1893), 'painter, lithographer(?), draughtsman and zoo director', emigrated originally to South Australia in 1851. He was employed with the Land Titles Registration Department for some 25 years from 1859, essentially as a draughtsman at increasing levels of seniority. In 1882 he 'was appointed director of the new Adelaide Zoological Gardens, having for many years been honorary secretary of the local Acclimatization Society which founded it', and Minchin himself had been a prime mover in establishing the Society in July 1878. This information comes from 'The Dictionary of Australian Artists ... to 1870', which devotes an entire page to Minchin. By all accounts he was active, even prolific, over many years, but his work is rarely offered for sale. The invaluable online resource, the Australian Art Sales Digest, has no record of him. The website of the Art Gallery of South Australia contains illustrations of ten watercolours by Minchin. None are dated more accurately than the mid-1850s to 1890 (but we believe there is a strong case to be made that pressure of his zoological management work makes pre-1880 a much more likely upper limit). None of them is signed; most of them are captioned; the handwriting is identical to the caption on this painting.