(a species of owlet moth (Noctuid)) Some caterpillars, after they emerge from their egg, can increase their weight by 25,000 times.

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Art and illustration books

Chinese art and the Reeves Collection - images of nature

Images of Nature - Chinese Art and the Reeves Collection - small image

Enjoy some of the finest examples of Chinese natural history drawings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in Chinese art and the Reeves Collection.

The book accompanies a display in the Museum's unique new Images of Nature gallery and includes many images that have never been published before.

ISBN: 978 0 565 09283 2

Author: Judith Magee

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Chinese art and the Reeves Collection - images of nature

£ 12.99


The book brings together a unique collection of botanical, zoological and entomological drawings depicting the natural history of China.

These outstanding images were commissioned and collected during the early nineteenth century by John Reeves and his son. Now housed in the Museum, the images are important not only for their striking beauty but also for their scientific significance.

John Reeves was a tea inspector for the East India Company and a keen amateur naturalist. When he was sent to China in 1812 he commissioned hundreds of scientific drawings from local artists, which were then sent to Britain.

Despite often being highly stylised, the images helped to further European knowledge of Chinese natural history during a time when access to the country was severely restricted.

Through their dedicated and enthusiastic work, Reeves and his son helped pave the way for some of the great explorers and collectors that followed.

The book accompanies a temporary art display in the Museum's new permanent gallery, Images of Nature, which opened on 21 January 2011.

All sales support the Museum's work

All profits and donations are given back to the Museum under a Gift Aid declaration, making your support worth more.

With your help we can continue our pioneering scientific research, educational programmes and conservation.

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