The etching includes notes from Becker’s drawing No.12 dated October 4th 1860, at Bilbaka on the Darling en route to Menindee. Becker's words have been transcribed by Les Sprague and transferred photographically onto an etching plate.
Becker, observed by Indigenous people in the lower right hand corner, is depicted stripped of his worldly possessions. He is immersed in his observations of the natural world around him and, unknowingly, is already moving towards his ultimate fate. He may even have some of the existential qualities ascribed to Patrick White’s character (also a German): Voss.
Becker continued to create extraordinary artwork until a month before his death on April 29th, 1861. During this time, he was under extreme privations of health and climate, and had been instructed by Burke to desist from his artistic and scientific work.
A question that continues in Les Sprague’s mind is: was Becker just an observer and recorder, or did he become immersed in the spirit of the landscape? Becker’s greatest paintings such as “View from Mt Hope,” “Crossing the Terrick-Terrick Plains,” and “Border of the Mud- Desert,” indicate the latter as they seem to seek and find essential truths about the landscape and space through which the party traveled.
The Darling Pea Swainsonia greyana
Long haired or plague rat
The doctors and the artists tent.
Application – Ludwig Becker
Towards base camp
Two explorers with reports about life on a sand hill
Environmental Expedition Mission
Burke and Wills Environmental Expedition Artwork Melbourne to Menindee
Burke and Wills Environmental Expedition Artwork Menindee to Coopers Creek
Becker and Burke
Ben’s Ammonite Discovery
The Aussie Accent
Story education resources
Education Museum Victoria: Drawing on Nature
This education kit describes a range of art activities inspired by objects found in nature.
The kit seeks to encourage and inspire people of all ages to engage with natural science and their local environment through art activities. Participants will be able to closely investigate specimens they gather themselves, and to explore a range of drawing techniques, including some used by scientists and scientific illustrators in museums. It is suitable for both adults and children.