The Australasian Sketcher periodical reported “with pen and pencil” in the late 1800s

I hardly came up with an original name for my sketching journal.

A reader who recently travelled to Melbourne emailed me a photo of a much, much older instance where the word “Sketcher” featured big in newsprint. It shows a page from an illustrated periodical of the late 1800s called The Australasian Sketcher. (He stumbled upon the tome of archived issues while visiting the Victoria State Library in Melbourne.)

The existance of the publication doesn’t surprise me at all. The late 1800s were the golden era of pictorial journalism, a time when publications dispatched “special artists” to document newsworthy events with their sketchpads — newsrooms also employed armies of illustrators who redrew the rough sketches from the specials into beautiful artwork for publication. Still, it’s funny to see this masthead with the word Sketcher so proudly displayed in beautiful detail.

According to the Wikipedia entry, the monthly, which circulated between 1873 and 1889, captured “the picturesque phases of our public and social life of notable objects and events in Australia and New Zealand.”

If only we could see more pages from this “Sketcher” newspaper paper, right? We actually can! PDF files re just a few clicks away from the digitised archives of the National Library of Australia. Here are a few covers I just downloaded and are making me drool over my keyboard: