Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters

National Exhibition Register

  • Emperor Moth, Syntherata janetta
    Harriet Scott Emperor Moth, Syntherata janetta
    620 x 540 mm
    Image Credit
    copyright Australian Musuem

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 watercoloured 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.

Artists and Curator

Vanessa Finney

Harriet Scott and Helena Scott

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
31/07/2019 - 31/12/2024
Exhibition size
Between 50-75 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
Australian Museum
Contact to discuss
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Catalogue/Book, Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Invitations or Invitation Template, Labels, Media Kit, Mobile Phone App, Public Program Opportunities
Other materials
video content animated content - projected
Primary contact
Louise Teteris
Touring Exhibitions Coordinator
Australian Museum
(02) 9320 6034
Secondary contact
Elliott Cole
(02) 9320 6474