Image: Life cycle sketch of Bombyx festiva Donovan

Life cycle sketch of  Bombyx festiva  Donovan

Composite sketch by Frances Stirling and Mary Scott of the life cycle of Bombyx festiva Donovan, numbers 253, 254, and 255 in the Scott family's second notebook (pp168,9), dated April to May 1840. AMS563/323.

This sketch would have been a reference for the finished painting made much later by Harriet Scott for possible inclusion in her father's Lepidoptera publication (Plate 39, AMS193/14).

Frances and Mary recorded their sketch dates on the reverse and then entered more descriptive details into their notebooks. Some excerpts follow:

page 168 " 253. the larva of Bombyx festiva Donovan found on Crinum 16 April 1840. Ground color very light blue, with numerous dark logitudinal stripes. 3 bright yellow bands one on each side and one down the middle back- head lightish red... It chiefly eats the thicker and juicier parts of the Crinum. On the 17th April made a very slight nest, underground, and some amongst the filth and leaves, by making a cavity with agglutinated earth - this larva is showy - drawing of exact size and appearance F. M.S"; "254. Chrysalis...painted 28 April 1840 F. M.S."; page 169: "255.Moth..took wing 27 May 1840... Male and female much resembling each other, Very active during the night...This Noctua is remarkably pretty- drawing of exact size and appearance. Preserved specimens much shrunk. F. M.S."

Frances Stirling and Mary Scott
© Australian Museum Archives


An example from the collection of butterfly and moth sketches made by AW Scott and his daughters over a period of nearly 30 years, beginning in the late 1830's, when AW Scott and his stepdaughters Frances and Mary began recording their observations of moths and butterflies. 

With the family's move to Ash Island, the project continued and eventually Scott's younger daughters Helena and Harriet joined in. Many of the sketches were used as a starting point for the beautiful plates created by Helena and Harriet for their father's published work on Lepidoptera. 

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