Zoology and things
/ by Charles Turner. Illustrated by the author. Sydney : Gordon & Gotch, . Colophon: John Sands, Printer, George Street, Sydney. Small square octavo (150 x 125 mm), original pictorial card covers (paper loss to spine, else near fine), lower wrapper with several of Gordon & Gotch’s specially produced illustrated labels promoting this work pasted down by the original owner, 45 pp, line-drawn illustrations throughout; occasional spotting, else clean and sound, a very good copy; loosely enclosed is a possibly unique example of the publisher’s promotional flyer for Zoology and things, single sheet, 150 x 125 mm, printed recto only in red and black (loss at bottom corner, light foxing, old folds), illustrated, reproducing favourable press reviews from the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Daily Telegraph, Town and Country Journal and South Australian Advertiser, all dating to early October 1883.
A rare and desirable copy of this highly obscure Sydney imprint. It appears to be the only work published by the Sydney humorist and artist, Charles Turner, and contains a collection of his illustrated sketches in prose and verse. Probably inspired by the nonsense creations of Edward Lear, and prefiguring the inventiveness of Heath Robinson, Turner’s work wittily transforms creatures of the natural world and everyday objects into newly imagined entities which parody the human condition and contemporary society.
The reviewer in the South Australian Advertiser mentions that ‘Mr. Charles Turner, of Sydney’ has sent the newspaper a copy of his book for review. He is probably the same Charles Turner – painter, illustrator and illuminator – who contributed drawings to the Australian Graphic, and illustrated Garnet Walsh’s Victoria in 1880 (see DAAO). He possibly also illustrated John Dunbar Dobson’s Ye rambles and exploits of Professor Chunk (Melbourne, 187-), and Walch’s Dyk Whittingtonne.
Copies of Zoology and things are recorded in only four Australian collections (National Library of Australia; State Library of Victoria; State Library of New South Wales; University of Queensland Library); the Gordon & Gotch flyer accompanying the present copy, which confirms the publication date of the book (previously only guessed at), appears unrecorded.