Images of Nature
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 1 November 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
- graphite illustrations by Dorothy Thursby Pelham of emperor penguin embryos from the three eggs that were collected by Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard in 1911 during the Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic
- 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 - 1 November 2019
- the affectionately-named 'flasher bat' - a colour illustration of a flying fox (Pteropus sp.) from Thomas Hardwicke's collection (1755-1835)
- 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)
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.
Discover artworks from the collections
The Library's modern botanical illustration collection is continually growing, as we complement our historical collection with work from the finest modern botanical artists.
The art of Franz and Ferdinand Bauer. £13
Images from the First Fleet voyage. £12.99
Works from the 17th century onwards. £12.99
Animals and plants from China. £12.99
Art inspired by India’s rich wildlife. £12.99
Art history of Britain’s flora and fauna. £12.99