Beauty from Nature: art of the Scott Sisters

Exquisite illustrations and water colour images of butterflies, moths, caterpillars and plants by two of 19th century Australia’s most prominent natural history artists will be on display in the exhibition in Beauty from nature: art of the Scott sisters at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum until 2 April 2017.

This stunning exhibition features delicate scientific illustrations and watercolours, created by two extraordinary women Harriet (Hattie) and Helena (Nellie) Scott, 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.

Hattie and Nellie Scott exuded wit, intelligence and scientific expertise at a time when these qualities ‘belonged’ to men. The sisters were incredibly talented and determined to make a difference. They were also fortunate to have a father who was a trained artist and scientist himself, so he not only taught them the techniques to paint nature but also the scientific skills to observe, collect and record it.

This led them to a remarkable career in scientific illustrations – many of which are still used by scientists today.

Australian Museum Entomology Collection Manager, David Britton, said the sisters’ work was incredibly valuable to generations of scientists. “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” he said.

Many of the watercoloured paintings in the exhibition were 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.

Beauty from nature: art of the Scott sisters is an exhibition toured by the Australian Museum. For more information about the exhibition, visit  or

Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum

224 Howick Street Bathurst 2795

Open 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 2pm Sunday.

Admission charges apply