This is an original watercolor by William Goodall from his extensive, life-time collection of animal drawings. He captioned each with Linnaean classification and other information relative to the animal on the page. Each watercolor or pen-and-ink drawing is on woven paper and is signed by Goodall. The watermarks that are present date between 1794 and 1833. Goodall completed these in Dinton, Buckinghamshire, England.
William Goodall was educated at Eton, became an ordained priest of the Church of England and served as absentee rector at All Saints Church, Marsham, near Aylsham in Norfolk from 1787-1844. In 1788, he married the sole heiress of Dinton Hall, Buckinghamshire, making him lord of the manor and a Justice of the Peace for Bucks. Painting was a life-long hobby. His brother Joseph Goodall (1760-1840), long-time Provost of Eton, was a noted collector of natural history drawings and friend of William Swainson. Their shared passion suggest that the Goodall brothers were educated at an early age in both natural history and the fine arts.
The animals he depicted include species from all over the world, including more exotic animals from Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Many of the images are identified as derivative of printed sources, including the Zoological Journal, Shaw, Edwards, Pennant, Temminck, Ruppel, Leach and others; however, others are labelled as having been done from specimens at Dinton. “William had no access to live whales or the larvae of foreign butterflies, so that he must have copied many of his paintings from printed works. This does not mean that he copied all of them. Some are probably original or partly original. Many paintings suggest observations on live or newly caught organisms … Even paintings known to have been copied contain corrections or some new element to improve the presentation” (Locke & Collins).
“William lived in a more leisurely age when the only way to create a visual archive was to paint, much as we might now collect photographs. His pursuit of images probably satisfied his inclination to paint, to collect and to study natural history combined in the one activity. He was following in the footsteps of Sir Hans Sloane … He thus created his personal museum, a good part of which was a paper museum.” (Locke & Collins)