Thwaites Natural History Collection

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This exceptional collection of natural history studies dating from around 1814 are believed to be by the hand of  two sisters of the Thwaites brewery family of Blackburn. The collection represents the early development of the science of entomology in Britain, produced prior to the formation of the Royal Entomological Society. In 1833 a number of ‘gentlemen and friends of entomological science’ came together formally in London at the British Museum. Unusually, from its inception, women were allowed membership of this society and profited from the same rights as the men. The Thwaites artists were in good female company, working in the tradition of ‘the mother of entomology’, female naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717).