Butterfly and moth sketches by the Scott family

Examples from a large collection of sketches and drawings created by AW Scott and his daughters to record the appearance, habits and life cycles of the moths and butterflies they were collecting, rearing and classifying.

Life cycle sketch of  Bombyx festiva  Donovan

Life cycle sketch of Bombyx festiva Donovan
Creator: Frances Stirling and Mary Scott © Australian Museum Archives

In the late 1830's AW Scott and his stepdaughters Frances and Mary began recording their observations of moths and butterflies in a series of notebooks and referencing these to numbered sketches they made of the specimens. With the family's move to Ash Island, the project continued and eventually Scott's younger daughters Helena and Harriet joined in.

Each page is a composite of sketches made over time as the life cycle of the observed species progressed. Many sketches have pencilled notes and dates on the reverse, and some have references to Volumes 1 and 2 of AW Scott's published work on Lepidoptera. These particular sketches were probably used as a starting point for the beautiful plates created by Helena and Harriet for their father's publications.

Sue Myatt
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