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'A Flutter of Butterflies' is a stunning showcase of illustrations of Australian butterflies and moths held by the National Library of Australia. The artists' works span the years from the 1770s, through the early colonial period to the turn of the twenty-first century, and capture a range of styles and purpose, from taxonomic description and identification to purely decorative.
Included are some of Australian most-loved artists, including Louisa Anne Meredith, Marian Ellis Rowan and Charles McCubbin. Common to all is a deep appreciation of Australian Lepidoptera and a meticulous approach to its depiction. In bringing together over 200 years of drawings and paintings of Australian butterflies and moths, this beautifully illustrated book is an enduring tribute to these fascinating insects.
Dr Michael Braby is Curator of Entomology at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory and is a leading authority on the taxonomy, biology and natural history of Australian butterflies and day-flying moths. Dr Penny Olsen is a research scientist and natural history writer.
"'A Flutter of Butterflies' is a stunning showcase of butterfly and moth illustrations held by the National Library of Australia. The works span the years from the 1770s, through the early colonial period to the turn of the twenty-first century.
As well as containing a plethora of gorgeous colour images, the publication features a fascinating introductory essay about the history of Australian Lepidoptera illustration. In addition to the essay, the book offers biographical essays about the artists represented, among whom are some of Australia's most-loved artists, including Louisa Anne Meredith, Marian Ellis Rowan and Charles McCubbin."
This lavish book is not about Australian butterflies themselves, but some of those who over the past 200 years have felt compelled to make a permanent record of the flutter of a butterfly, that fleeting glimpse before the winged wonder is lost to the wind. It features 11 artists, each with a remarkable story of their own.
Drawings and paintings of Australian butterflies and moths in the collection of the National Library of Australia are included in this attractive and informative book by Michael Braby with Penny Olsen. The artworks shown cover more than 200 years from the paintings in the 1770s to works by Charles McCubbin who illustrated 10 stamps for Australia Post in 1981. It's an excellent reference book - or a pretty gift.
Butterflies, along with Birds and, flowers, represent a popular genre of natural history illustration. Often brightly coloured, relatively accessible and inoffensive, it is easy to understand their popularity as subjects for early scientific and artistic endeavour. It is gratifying then that the National Library should produce a book showcasing such items from its collection.
A book that charms us with beautiful paintings of both butterflies and moths is welcome and may encourage us to value all lepidopterans, furthermore, the book draws together a wide range of illustrations and connects them with well-written narrative that places them in a historical context and illuminates the many and varies pathways taken by artists over the past two hundred or more years.