Australian Historical Art Fund & Heritage Government Residences

A Pair of Minton Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Minton Factory, England c.1860
Height: Crest up - 33 cm
Crest down - 30 cm 

Nineteenth century Europeans had a fascination with Australian fauna and flora, and these cockatoos are an example of this. Both perched on bases shaped as tree stumps; one cockatoo with its crest up; the other with its crest down. It is believed they are allegorical figures of war (crest up) and peace (crest down).

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) are an iconic Australian bird and live in large numbers around many of the cities of Australia.

At the time this pair were acquired by The Fund, the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen, wrote to the Chairman saying '...These interesting pieces were much remarked upon during the recent Royal Visit when Her Majesty and His Royal Highness and their staff spent some days with us at Government House. The pair of birds are not only delightful ornaments, possessing an appropriate association with Australia; they also are a constant reminder of the bird life in the grounds of 'Yarralumla', where cockatoos abound.'

This selection represents a small sample of our collection. Our book detailing the collection is currently out of print.
An updated edition has been published in 2017.
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