William T Cooper: Botanical Art of the Tropical Rainforest

‘Australia’s greatest living scientific painter of birds and possibly the best in the world.’ – Sir David Attenborough, 1993.

William T Cooper (1934-2015) was notable as a painter of birds; however, he was also a masterful botanical artist, producing botanical illustrations of rainforest fruits and hundreds of drawings of plants that were produced opportunistically for potential use in paintings.

Over 100 paintings and drawings by the artist and naturalist, drawn from private collections around Australia and the collections of the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library of Australia, are on view in ‘Botanical Art of the Tropical Rainforest’, including works never-before-seen in public. Cooper’s exquisite botanical paintings, dazzling in colour and intricate in detail, depict the beauty and wonder of the flora and fauna he encountered in the natural world across Australia, Asia and East Africa.

William T Cooper, Palm Cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus), undated (c.1986), synthetic polymer paint on canvas on board. Private collection, Victoria. Courtesy Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland

Cairns Art Gallery
28 August 2021 to 13 February 2022
Queensland