Exhibition honouring pioneering women in science and art

The transformations art of the scott sisters exhibition opens at the moranbah coalface art gallery on monday 9 december 2019 web tn

In a first for the Isaac region, the Australian Museum is sending a travelling exhibition celebrating the legacy of two great scientific illustrators to the Moranbah Coalface Art Gallery.

Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters is an exhibition featuring reproductions of 39 delicate watercolours of butterflies and moths based on the original illustrations of Harriet (Hattie) and Helena (Nellie) Scott, two of Australia’s most prominent 19th century natural history artists.

Kim McKay AO, Australian Museum Director and CEO said Hattie and Nellie Scott exuded wit, intelligence and scientific expertise at a time when these qualities were largely attributed solely to men.

“The sisters were incredibly talented and determined to make a difference, flying in the face of gender norms of the time, yet they were unable to study science formally at Sydney University as they had wished,” she said.

“Their work at the Australian Museum in the 1850’s to 1870’s provided them with an outlet for their extraordinary talents, having been taught the techniques to paint flora and fauna by their father, A.W Scott, who was also an artist and scientist. He shared with them the scientific skills to observe, collect and record behavioural and distribution data,” she said.

Paintings created by the sisters between 1846 and 1851 for their father’s landmark publication Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations – depicting caterpillars in life-like poses, gorgeous butterflies and native flowers – are considered to be among their finest work, and are still used by scientists today.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said it was an incredible honour to have the Australian Museum exhibition come to the Moranbah.

“This is the first time ever that Council has collaborated with the Australian Museum to bring a world class exhibition to the Coalface Art Gallery,” Mayor Baker said.

“This is a momentous occasion for the gallery, and I would like to extend a thank you to the Australian Museum for loaning us the exhibition.

“The fascinating history about the Scott sisters and their art work will entertain visitors for the duration of the exhibition.”

Visitors to Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters are invited to turn back the pages and discover 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.

The exhibition is running from 9 December to 21 February. For more details on upcoming events and what’s happening in the Isaac region visit www.isaac.qld.gov.au or call Council’s 24/7 Customer Service Centre 1300 ISAACS (1300 47 22 27).




Isaac Regional Council PR & Media Officer          (07) 4846 3550 or 0428 038 917

Published: 5th December 2019