Image Gallery: Scott Sisters Watercolours

In 1884 the Australian Museum purchased a collection of papers of the A.W (Walker) Scott family which included a remarkable set of 100 preliminary drawings and watercolour plates of moths and butterflies.

Beautifully executed and brilliantly coloured, these plates were completed during the 1840s through to the 1860s by Harriet and Helena Scott for the publication of their father's outstanding entomological publication Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations. Volume I was published in 1864 and Volume II was finally published in five parts between 1890 and 1898.

The plates, created for translation onto the lithographic stone, were drawn at life-size from living specimens of moths and butterflies at various stages of their life-cycles. They are preserved today as outstanding examples of 19th century scientific illustrations in the Australian Museum Archives. 

The image in this gallery are titled with Scott's original names for the moths and butterflies. Many of these were never published, or represent species that were already described, or have since been reclassified.The current names can be seen when each image page is open.