Photo Stream - Brian W. Ogilvie
Historical insect collections

Historical insect collections

Three 17th- and 18th-century insect collections at the Natural History Museum, London: two, originally created by James Petiver and Leonard Plukenet, later belonged to Hans Sloane, while the third is that of Joseph Banks.

On the left, Petiver's butterfly collection, rearranged by one of Sloane's assistant. Each butterfly is pressed between two thin sheets of mica, which are then glued together along the edges and glued into the volume on a hinge, so both sides of the butterfly can be examined. Right foreground: dragonflies from Sloane's collection (or later); behind it is a drawer from Banks's collection, with hymenoptera. Plukenet's collection is in the box at the back; it's so fragile in its unconserved state that they don't open it, even for visiting scholars, but they have a complete photographic record. A couple of the photos are at the far end of the table.

My sincere thanks to Dave Goodger, the collections' curator, for showing them to me and my colleagues, and to Martha Fleming for arranging the visit.