State Library of South Australia

Friends of the State Library : Stephen Bowers Makes History

Currently on display in the Somerville Reading Room at the State Library of South Australia two dioramas made as book cover artworks for historical facsimile publications released by The Friends of the State Library of South Australia.

Diorama images created by Stephen Bowers currently on display at the State Library
Stephen Bowers makes history

Created by visual artist Stephen Bowers, the dioramas are based on copper plate illustrations in the 1827 edition of Captain Phillip Parker King's Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia performed between the years 1818 and 1822.

In making the cover art as a 3-dimensional model, Bowers wanted to convey something of the idea of floating and drifting in both time and space. To turn the dioramas into book covers, they were photographed by Grant Hancock with typographic design by Sandra Elms.

The resulting images were printed as covers for both deluxe and standard editions of Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia performed between the years 1818 and 1822 by Captain Phillip Parker King, published in facsimile by The Friends of the State Library of South Australia in 2012.

King's Narrative was first published in London in 1827 by John Murray. A copy of this edition is held in the State Library of South Australia.

Stephen Bowers' work is represented in many public galleries and collections. He exhibits both in Australia and overseas and is the subject of the 2013 SALA book published by Wakefield Press. A major survey of his work is currently on national tour as part of the Visions of Australia program.

In addition to creating cover and endpaper designs for King's Narrative, Bowers also painted fore-edge illustrations on special copies given to the sponsors of the publication. Check out the following video, photography: Grant Hancock.

 

The Friends of the State Library of South Australia has published facsimile and reproduction works of early Australian exploration and other colonial subjects since 1996. The more than 30 works published to date have raised funds of over $300,000, which the Friends have donated to the State Library of South Australia to allow it to purchase rare and beautiful books and objects, as well as important items of South Australiana.

King's Narrative and many other Friends' publications can be seen and purchased in the Friends' lounge and office on the ground floor of the Institute Building, corner of Kintore Avenue, where you can also become a member of the Friends.

Find out more about the Friends of the State Library.

 

Story by: Rosemary Luke

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