Harriet Morgan (1830 – 16 August 1907) née Scott was one of 19th century Australia’s most prominent natural history illustrators and, along with her sister Helena Scott, was possibly one of the first professional female illustrators in Australia. The sisters were also highly skilled amateur naturalists and collectors, rare accomplishments for women of their time. They were most notable for their magnificent drawings of moths and butterflies for the publication of the first volume of their father Alexander Walker Scott’s work Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations.
Harriet Scott was the daughter of Alexander Walker Scott, entomologist and entrepreneur and Harriet Scott (née Calcott). Harriet was born in Sydney and she and her sister Helena were educated by their father on Ash Island. Through their education they acquired extensive knowledge of the natural world, including Australian plants, animals and insects.
Harriet earned admiration and praise from leading colonial scientists who she collected for and corresponded with. After the publication of Australian Lepidoptera and their transformations, drawn from the life by Harriet and Helena Scott she was elected an honorary member of the Entomological Society of NSW. However, she was constrained by her class and position in society. Her father suffered financial hardship in the 1860s but no matter how poverty stricken he became, he did not want either of his daughters to accept commissions, sign their own published drawings or be formally educated, however Alexander Scott did finally relent and permitted his daughters signing their published drawings. Harriet was forced to work when he became bankrupt and she drew and painted commercially for the rest of her life. Harriet drew botanical illustrations for the 1879, 1884 and 1886 editions of the Railway Guide to New South Wales, and with her sister produced designs for Australia’s first Christmas cards in 1879...
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