watercolourist, made a dozen or so undated studies of birds and plants in Australia and New Guinea thought to have been painted between the late 1840s and about 1880 (National Trust, Vic.). They include Dianella, Rosehip and Blackberry Study , two exquisitely detailed, rather oriental-looking watercolours of native Australian birds and blossoms and a drawing of a New Guinea bird of paradise.

Little is known about the artist Caroline Pounds, née Elam, who married Dr James Baker Pounds, a native of Wexford, Ireland. Their elder son, Joseph Elam Pounds, was born at Mothill, Waterford in 1838. By 1846, according to the inscription on one of Caroline’s sketches of a native Australian plant, the family was in Sydney. It must have been a brief stay. According to Dr Pounds’s obituary, he began his colonial career at Ballarat, Victoria, but after losing money over a quantity of mining machinery he had imported for sale became medical officer at Pentridge prison until1862. Then he was appointed coroner for the Sandhurst (Bendigo) district. The family lived at Bendigo until Dr Pounds retired in 1877 and he and his wife travelled.

In 1874 Caroline and James’s son Joseph, by then a widower with two surviving children, married Lilias, eldest daughter of Charles and Mary Ann Ibbotson of Geelong – and it was in the Ibbotson family home, The Heights (originally called Newtown Hill), that Caroline Pounds’s drawings were discovered and where they remain on display.

Fox, Paul
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