Flights of Fancy: Lepidoptera under the microscope

IMG_2284.JPGTransformations: Art of the Scott Sisters is a breathtakingly beautiful exhibition on at the Australian Museum.

It is a celebration of the sister’s vast contribution to Natural History and Science in Australia during the colonial period. And it is a rare glimpse into the social history of this family as they went against the grain as female scientists, and struggled to survive poverty.

The Scotts’ looked at butterflies and moths drawing the insects throughout their various life cycle stages using live insects. This was time consuming and involved a lot of field work. Glimpses of the areas where the specimens were collected were also shown on the drawings as were drawings of the plants that hosted the insects.

These drawings where to be part of a vast work of their father Alexander Walker Scott, called Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations.

The exhibition shows the notebooks, field drawings, letters to the Museum and final works alongside collections of the specimens themselves. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and thoughtful animations and quotes illuminate the lives of the insects and the women themselves.

The exhibition is on to mark the 190th anniversary of the museum. It’s well worth going, but if you can’t get there by the 25th June when it closes, download the app from the museum website.

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