Images of Nature

Black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis illustration by William Cornwallis Harris (1807-1848)

Black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis illustration by William Cornwallis Harris (1807-1848).

  • no booking required

See how artists and scientists view the natural world through more than 100 images from the Museum's collection in the Images of Nature gallery.

Historic prints, watercolours and paintings spanning 350 years are displayed alongside modern images created by scientists, imaging specialists, photographers and micro-CT scanners.

The gallery includes a temporary exhibition of themed artworks.

Expeditions and Endeavours

For centuries, scientists and artists have embarked on a succession of expeditions to document the natural world. The observations of flora and fauna made by the artists on these voyages of natural history have contributed greatly to our understanding of nature.

Explore some of these artworks in our current exhibition Expeditions and Endeavours on display until October 2019. The exhibition content will change every four months, giving you a rare opportunity to see remarkable never-before-displayed original illustrations and photographs.

Exhibit highlights include:

  • artworks from Captain Cook's Endeavour voyage (1768-1771), with illustrations from the Society Islands (Tahiti), Australia, New Zealand and Java, Indonesia by Sydney Parkinson, Alexander Buchan and Herman Spöring. Botanical specimens collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander are also on display. This year marks 250 years since the voyage departed England on 25 August 1768.
  • interactive screens, where you can explore a variety of artworks from the Museum's collections

July - November 2018

  • a bundle of botanical specimens collected on the Endeavour voyage pressed into printed pages of Joseph Addison’s Notes upon the twelve books of Paradise lost (originally published in 1719)
  • an illustration by John Webber, from Cook's third voyage, of a Kerguelen Island cabbage - whose leaves' high potassium- and vitamin C-rich oil meant its consumption helped the ship's crews suffering from scurvy, as discovered by Cook's surgeon William Anderson

November 2018 - March 2019

  • artworks of flora and fauna from all three of Captain Cook's voyages to the Pacific
  • koalas drawn by Ferdinand Bauer on the HMS Investigator voyage captained by Matthew Flinders - the first detailed scientific description of the koala was by botanist Robert Brown in 1814
  • illustrations by early North American naturalists including William Bartram, William Young and John Abbot

March - July 2019

  • photographs and illustrations from the HMS Challenger voyage
  • the graphite illustrations by Joseph Dalton Hooker of emperor penguin embryos are from one of the three eggs collected in 1911 during the Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic on HMS Erebus
  • the earliest illustration of whales held in the Museum's collections, by trained doctor and surgeon Sigismund Bacstrom, whose artistic works show precision and accuracy

July - October 2019

  • depictions of African flora and fauna by Thomas Baines and Margaret Fountaine, and a seventeenth-century watercolour from the Museum's collection of Cape plants illustrations
  • botanical and zoological illustrations from the Museum's Thomas Hardwicke collection
  • artworks of Sydney Parkinson (1745-1771), naturalist artist on board the Endeavour voyage (1768-1771)

 

Explore more

Draw your own wildlife

Explore the Museum's Wildlife Garden where you can sketch your own flora and fauna illustrations.

Go behind the scenes

Join a Spirit Collection tour where you’ll meet Archie, the 8.62-metre-long giant squid, view specimens collected by Charles Darwin and learn about our cutting-edge research.

Plan your visit

Plan your journey to the Museum, find out what's on, explore the galleries and find out where to rest and refuel. 

Access at South Kensington

Make sure your visit runs smoothly with our guide to cloakrooms, toilets, lifts and parking. You'll also find information about facilities for disabled visitors.

james-parsons-hti-top

Scientific discovery through images

Tour highlights from the Museum's art collection and Imaging and Analysis Centre, in a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture.

Flock to it

Discover an extinct dodo, our historical hummingbird cabinet, and a Victorian avian anatomy display in the Birds gallery.

How to find this gallery

The Images of Nature gallery is in the Blue Zone on the Ground Floor next to Hintze Hall. You don't need to pre-book to visit the Images of Nature gallery.

Map of the Museum highlighting the Images of Nature gallery.

Discover artworks from the collections

Explore Ferdinand Bauer's stunning scientific illustrations

Ferdinand Bauer is regarded as one of the world’s greatest natural history painters. 

Women artists featured in our Library and Archives

Spanning the last four centuries and covering all subject areas, many of their works have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the natural world.

The modern botanical illustration collection

The Library's modern botanical illustration collection is continually growing, as we complement our historical collection with work from the finest modern botanical artists.

Plan the rest of your day at the Museum

Exhibitions and events

Explore the latest exhibitions, find out about the range evening events for adults and kids and book tickets online.

Galleries and maps

Discover what you can see and do in our 36 free galleries. Get around with the Museum map.

Eat, drink and shop

Drop by our restaurant and cafes to enjoy fresh food and drinks, or find a gift in our Museum shops.