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Transformations: Art of the Scott sisters comes to Hurstville Museum and Gallery


Georges River Council is pleased to announce Transformations: Art of the Scott sisters, on exhibition at the Hurstville Museum and Gallery from 4 August to 14 October 2018.

This touring exhibition, produced by the Australian Museum, brings to life the work of Helena and Harriet Scott. 

Two of 19th century Australia’s most important scientific Illustrators, the Scott sisters dedicated much of their lives to transforming nature into art in extraordinary paintings that captured the life histories of Australian moths and butterflies. 

The exhibition will showcase more than 30 reproductions of their delicate paintings which are considered to be among their finest work, and are still used by scientists today. 

Moving to Ash Island in 1846, the sisters began recording the flora and fauna of Newcastle’s Kooragang Wetlands with their father, Alexander Walker Scott. In a time before photography, when science relied on illustrators to depict nature, the Scott sister’s work played an important role in placing Australia and its unique fauna and flora on the world map. 

They were pioneers in the habit of referencing the locations of where their flora and fauna subjects were found. Unlike many of their male contemporaries who drew subjects without any background, the sister’s use of backgrounds and reference points was a groundbreaking advancement in scientific painting, yet one that was never acknowledged by the male establishment.

Breaking through the science community was not easy for the sisters during a time when women were not allowed an education, nor the right to earn a living. It was a friendship between their father and former Australian Museum director, Edward Ramsey that led to Ramsey persuading the Museum’s trustees to purchase the sister’s works.

Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO said the sisters were incredibly talented and determined to make a difference.

“They exuded wit, intelligence and scientific expertise at a time when these qualities were largely attributed solely to men,” Kim said.

This touring exhibition curated by the Australian Museum provides a great opportunity for the Georges River Community to see an important part of Australian science and art history on show at the Hurstville Museum and Gallery.

The exhibition will also feature a selection of butterfly and moth specimens, on loan from the Biological Sciences Museum at Macquarie University.

Official opening: 
Wednesday 8 August 2018, 6.00pm
Guest speaker: Vanessa Finney, Manager, Archives and Records, Australian Museum
All welcome, drinks and nibbles provided.
RSVP: by Monday 6 August 2018
 RSVP visit Council's ‘what’s on’ 
Hurstville Museum & Gallery will run a number of public programs in conjunction with this exhibition. More information.

Contact information:
Hurstville Museum Gallery
14 MacMahon Street, Hurstville
Ph: 9330 6444
Opening hours:
Monday – Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday 2.00pm – 5.00pm
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