We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.
John Halphead Smith, A goose, probably an Orinoco Goose, in profile

A goose, probably an Orinoco Goose, in profile, 1840

John Halphead Smith (1826 - 1896)

RA Collection: Art

A detailed watercolour of a bird shown standing and in profile. Its feathers are mostly speckled brown with an orange hue over the breast and lower body. There is a stripe of blue, white and green on the wing. The beak, legs and feet are red. This is probably an Orinoco Goose, or Neochen Jubata, a bird native to South America.

This drawing is one of a set of twelve watercolours of ducks and geese. The group is part of the bequest of Gilbert Bakewell Stretton, the artist's grandson, and is accompanied by a letter stating that the drawings "are specimens or duplicates of a series painted by my grandfather John Homes Smith of Worcester from living and dead birds for T.C. Eyton (Author of A Monograph on the Anatidae or Duck Tribe London 1838). This gentleman intended at the time to publish an elaborate illustrated book on this branch of ornithology but I cannot discover that this was ever done."

Eyton's book was published but the illustrations, though very similar to this set, are by Edward Lear and other artists not J.H. Smith. It is possible, as Stretton suggests, that these drawings are merely specimens produced for the author's perusal or that they were for another of Eyton's book projects which never came to fruition. Eyton published an abridged version of the Duck Tribe and a number of other books on ornithology but Smith's illustrations do not feature in any of these publications.

All objects in this group

Object details

A goose, probably an Orinoco Goose, in profile
John Halphead Smith (1826 - 1896)
Object type
Watercolour on cream wove paper

28 cm x 38 cm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Bequeathed by Gilbert Bakewell Stretton 1949
return to start

Start exploring the RA Collection

read more
  • Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
  • Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
    Our Collection is a record of them.
Start exploring