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Biographical entry Cayley, Neville Henry Pennington (1853 - 1903)

Kent, England
Artist and Ornithologist


Neville Henry Pennington Cayley was the illustrator of Alfred John North's Descriptive Catalogue of the Nests and Eggs of Birds found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania (Sydney 1889). The same illustrations appeared later, on a reduced scale, in the Australian Encyclopaedia (1926), in which plates of birds and birds' eggs by his son, Neville William Cayley, also appeared.


Born Kent, England, 1853. Died 1903. Painted game-birds, often in groups, and such birds as kookaburras, magpies and blue wrens, all characterised by fine brush-work and attention to detail. He signed his work 'Neville Cayley'. Published a booklet, Australian Birds, containing 11 plates of birds. Commemorated by the Cayley Memorial Scholarship, available to second-year science students at the University of Sydney for research in economic ornithology, and funded by his son with a portion of the royalties of What Bird is That?

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Neville Henry Pennington Cayley - Records, 1893 - 1895; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Cabouret, Mark R., '"The premier bird painter of the colonies" 1: the early career of Neville Henry Cayley in Victoria', La Trobe Journal, vol. 93/4, 2014, pp. 51-76. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2001, 492 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J. & Rosanne Walker