Humphreys, Henry Noel, (1810-1879) and Westwood, John Obadiah, 1805-1893.

British Moths and Their Transformations.

London: William Smith, 1843-1845. 2 Volumes.

As one of the preeminent entomologists of the Victorian period, Westwood served as collaborator, editor, and consultant on many entomological publications. He collaborated with British illustrator Henry Noel Humphreys on two major publications, British Moths and Their Transformations (1843-45) and British Butterflies and Their Transformations (1848). For British Moths, Humphreys orchestrated the overall work and provided all illustrations. Westwood provided the various scientific descriptions.

Humphreys spins an elegant paean to caterpillars and moths in the preface to British Moths and justifies his devotion to the under-appreciated beauty of moths which are often overshadowed by their fairer-winged cousins, the butterflies:

"Indeed, in the larva stage, many moths surpass in their wonderful raiment of velvet and satin, of ermine and sable, jewelled over with gold and silver studs of various metallic tints, anything which the butterfly division can boast. The gorgeous colouring and texture of the caterpillar frequently disappear in the perfect moth; but are replaced by intricate and graceful pencillings, and wonderfully elegant and varied markings, which amply repay the loss of glowing tints." (British Moths, p. i.)

Picture of colorful moths taken from the work entitled, "British Moths and Their Transformations."