About the exhibition

Beautiful and intricate, this stunning exhibition features up to 39 professionally mounted and framed reproductions of original watercolours by Harriet and Helena Scott.

Turn back the pages as you uncover the captivating story of these two extraordinary women whose love of nature and tremendous skill in rendering its beauty enabled them to distinguish themselves amid the male-dominated world of 19th century science. Many of their scientific illustrations are still used by scientists today.

The Scott sisters were among the first to illustrate the life histories and immature stages of Australian moths and butterflies. They were meticulous and understood the biology of their subjects in great detail.

The highlights of the exhibition are reproductions of watercolour paintings created between 1846 and 1851 for their father A.W Scott’s landmark publication Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations.
Considered the finest examples of the sisters’ work, the paintings feature caterpillars in life-like poses, gorgeous butterflies, native flowers and stunning landscapes.

This is a rare chance for visitors to step back in time and absorb these watercolours while admiring the simple beauty of 19th century nature through the eyes of two young women whose pioneering work was praised for both the art and the science.

Exhibition details

Exhibition Specifications: Wall space for up to 39 hung frames.

Special Requirements: No special environmental conditions are required as the artworks are reproductions.

Accompanying Material Available: Graphic panel package, video footage and animated projections.

The Art of Science App: Explore the art of Harriet and Helena Scott through this specially-designed, interactive app. Your visitors can read biographies, learn about butterfly and moth species, and explore over 100 interactive illustrations. The app is free for all users. See more about the app here.

Touring itinerary

Make an enquiry

For more information on the Australian Museum touring exhibitions, please contact Louise Teteris, Project Coordinator, Touring Exhibitions.