Field Sports is a set of ten baskets woven from copies of a set of hand coloured aquatints produced by commercial artist John Heaviside Clark. These prints, made in London I 1813 and dedicated to the deposed NSW Governor William Bligh, were part of a series of 100 “hunting, shooting and fishing” images from all parts of the world, with accompanying anecdotes and text issued in 1814 as Foreign Field Sports, Fisheries, Sporting Anecdotes. The New South Wales component of ten plates was a late addition to the main series first appearing as a separate pamphlet in 1813 and in this form was the first publication solely devoted to an account of Australian Aborigines. The activities of the Aborigines are noticeable peaceful and in sympathy with the natural environment by comparison with the bloody wolf and zebra hunts and shooting expeditions depicted in the majority of images of the larger series.
Making baskets from these prints refers to the tradition of weaving amongst Aboriginal people. This weaving entwines these 19th century images of Aborigines as unique representatives of the country with an acknowledgement of their survival and their culture that is so inadequately describes in the prints.
Thanks to Elisabeth Ellis, Curator of Pictures, State Library of NSW for her insights of these prints.