Highlights slideshow

Browse highlights from our Women artists temporary exhibition currently on show in the Images of Nature gallery.

Kakapo, Strigops habroptila, by Angela Gladwell

Kakapo, Strigops habroptilus, by Angela Gladwell, watercolour on paper, 1998.

Angela Gladwell holds a life-long interest in art and natural history and her works cover a wide range of subjects

This painting depicts a New Zealand kakapo. It is the only species of flightless parrot in the world and has one of the longest life expectancies of any bird at 80-100 years.

Bergenia cordifolia, elephant-eared saxifrage, by Norma Gregory

Elephant-eared saxifrage, Bergenia cordifolia, by Norma Gregory, watercolour on paper, 2011.

Norma Gregory is an accomplished contemporary botanical artist with an accurate eye for detail and colour. When developing this painting Gregory found it a challenge to stop the Bergenia specimen from drying out. The leaves and flowers had to be misted constantly to stop them dropping.

European fire-bellied toad, Bombina bombina, by Joan Procter

European fire-bellied toad, Bombina bombina, by Joan Beauchamp Procter, watercolour on paper, c1920.

Procter was fascinated by reptiles and amphibians from an early age, and became a brilliant and respected herpetologist (amphibian expert). She curated amphibian collections at the Museum before becoming curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at London Zoo. She also designed models, showcases and postcards during her time at the Museum.

The European fire-bellied toad is found across mainland Europe, and northern and central Asia. Its bright orange and black striped belly serves as a poison warning to its enemies.

Western crowned pigeon by Sarah Stone

Western crowned pigeon, Goura cristata, by Sarah Stone, watercolour on paper, c1788.

Sarah Stone is one of the earliest female zoological artists in the Museum's collection. Her stunning depictions of birds formed part of a series of works documenting Sir Ashton Lever's Leverian Museum, before it was divided up and sold in 1806. Stone was the daughter of a professional ladies' fan painter, who likely encouraged her interest in art.

Comparative morphology cabinet
Permanent artworks

A new permanent cabinet in the gallery focuses on comparative morphology, the science of identifying similarities in species inherited from a common ancestor as well as those that evolved independently. The practice relies heavily on images, and was first developed in the mid-16th century. 

The Museum's first superintendent Richard Owen was one of the fathers of the technique. 

Developments in modern technology have seen a shift from pictorial illustrations towards CT scanning and radiography.

Art, nature and imaging

Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, watercolour from the India collection

Discover how natural history art and imaging techniques have developed since the 17th century and explore selected Museum artworks.

Art, nature and imaging

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Women Artists book

Women Artists book

A beautiful collection of drawings of the natural world by female artists, spanning four centuries.

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