Harriet and Helena Scott – Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations
In the mid-1800’s two Australian sisters created stunning natural history illustrations for the publication of their father’s book. I was fortunate to be able to see the exhibit of unpublished plates in the Australian Museum and I spent hours poring over the intricacies of the artwork.
There are two volumes of their work. Volume 1 was published in 1864 and Volume II was published (in sections) between 1890 and 1898. The Australian Museum purchased 100 of the sisters’ early drawings and plates, many of which were never published. In 1886, the two women were given honorary membership to the New South Wales Entomological Society.
I am in awe of the beauty and detail put into these illustrations which were made from living moths and butterflies. Even today, the colors are brilliant and the insects seem ready to jump from the page into real life.
Hear about the Sisters from Vanessa Finney of the Australian Museum
You can view each of the volumes including all of the plates in a digital archive
- Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations Volume I
- Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations Volume 2
- See unpublished plates at the Australian Museum
- See a small online exhibit of selected works
- An iPhone App featuring the illustrations in the Australian Museum exhibit
- Learn more about Harriet and Helena and their life