Wilkes, Benjamin (?-1749) The English Moths and Butterflies
Benjamin Wilkes was an English artist and naturalist. Originally a painter of historic places and portraits, he was invited to a meeting of the Aurelian Society where he first saw specimens of butterflies and moths. Wilkes became convinced that nature would be his best instructor as to color and form, and he began to study entomology, spending his leisure time collecting, studying and drawing insects and butterflies. Wikes published the first edition of his work The English Moths and Butterflies from 1747-1749. The entire work consisted of 120 engraved plates with original hand coloring, most of which were composed by George Dionysius Ehret and Jacob Van Huysum. The rusult was a work that not only contained accurate and beautifully depicted moths and butterflies, but it also displayed, in delicate composition, marvelous botanical subjects drawn by Ehret and Van Huysum. The prints are hand-colored engravings from the first edition of the work. Within the work, there is a list of just over 100 subscribers, one of whom was the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Prints from this publication are very rare.