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On this day: 16th July 1861 Frederick William Frohawk was born.


Frederick William Frohawk was born on 16th July 1861 in Norfolk and, following a private school education, worked as a natural history artist.


Today, he is best known for his illustrations of birds and insects, although he also drew many other natural history subjects. Frohawk worked in a variety of mediums including oils, watercolours and pencils. He was also an accomplished lithographer and wood engraver. He was a popular artist for such magazines as The Field as he could easily turn his hand to illustrate a range of subjects.



Argynnis paphia, silver-washed fritillary (NHM ref: 005489)

Plate 31. A Watercolour depicting a caterpillar, chyrsalis and adult silver-washed fritillary butterfly.


For over twenty years he bred every species of British butterfly, and published his observations and illustrations in the classic work The natural history of the British butterflies, 1924. In 1934 he published The complete book of British butterflies and was followed in 1938 by The varieties of British butterflies. He was a Fellow of the Entomological Society of London and became a Special Life Fellow in 1926.



Arygynnis adippe, high brown fritillary (NHM ref: 013782)

Original drawing for Fig. 14, part of plate 13 for 'Natural History of British Butterflies'

Frohawk was employed by Lord Rothschild and the Natural History Museum to illustrate the life histories of British butterflies. These watercolour images were issued as a series of postcards and small booklets.

He died in Surrey on 10th December 1946.


The Library holds collections of his zoological, entomological and ornithological artwork. To see more examples please visit the NHM Picture Library webpage.


For more information on this or other collections held in the Library or to arrange an appointment please contact us on or 020 7942 5460