Thwaites, Insect Studies: Beetle, Wasp, Moth, Fly, Caterpillar - 1814 painting

An original 1814 watercolour painting, Thwaites Insect Studies: Beetle, Wasp, Moth, Caterpillar.

An exceptional sheet of exquisitely hand-painted entomological studies, dating from around 1814. It is believed to have been painted by the Thwaites sisters of the Thwaites brewery family of Blackburn. The painting formed part of a collection apparently gifted to a ‘Miss Jones’ (see photograph of inscription).

A sheet of studies this comprehensive and surviving in this condition is rare. The insects are individually inscribed with their Latin names, as shown.

There is the odd spot of foxing and age toning, mainly towards the edges of the sheet, as shown.
26.6cm x 21.4cm.

This picture forms part of an exceptional collection of natural history studies we have for sale, depicting various botanical and entomological subjects. Dating from the early 19th century, the collection represents the early development of the science of entomology in Britain, prior to the formation of the Royal Entomological Society in London in 1833, when a number of ‘gentlemen and friends of entomological science’ came together formally 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 naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) - considered ‘the mother of entomology’ and the first to record the full life cycle of many species of butterflies and moths.

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Product code: JK-760

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