Emily Twynam’s sketches and carvings

Self-taught artist Emily Twynam produced an important collection of botanical sketches in the Goulburn region.

Born in 1845, Emily Rose Twynam taught herself to draw and took up art in her fifties. Between the years of 1890 to 1905 she filled seven A4-sized sketchbooks with detailed drawings of the flora and fauna around her home, including oak leaves, acorns, banksias, Kurrajong leaves, flowers and lizards.

Most of Emily’s drawings were done in India ink, and many include annotations of where the plants were found and even those who picked them, such as Emily’s grandson, Pax.

The sketchbooks are a rare example of 19th century botanical artwork in the Goulburn region. They have been conserved and digitised, and are now on display at her original home in Riversdale, Goulburn, Gundungurra land.

In her later years, Emily also took up carving and produced ornate picture frames and handmade furniture decorated with designs drawn from her sketchbooks.

The Twynam family occupied Riversdale for almost 100 years. It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1967.

Learn more about the story behind this collection.