Kirklees Image Archive

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Natural History Illustrations

Kirklees Museums’ collections include natural history illustrations covering a range of subjects. These beautiful studies were produced by late 19th and early 20th Century naturalists Seth Lister Mosley and Thomas Gibbs.

Seth Lister Mosley
Seth Lister Mosley (1848-1929) inherited a love of nature and the skill of taxidermy from his father, which led him to become a keen collector, artist and writer. He ran his own museum at his home in Beaumont Park, Huddersfield, gaining experience at the Huddersfield Technical College’s museum, and at Cliffe Castle in Keighley before becoming the first curator at Huddersfield’s Tolson Memorial Museum in 1922. Moving from his early ‘egging’, shooting and stuffing days, he developed the educational use of illustrations. The settings for the specimens in the Bird Room at Tolson are all his work, and he produced series of postcards (printed on his own press, then hand-coloured). His published work includes The Birds of Huddersfield (1915), which is thought to be the first book on the birds of a local area to include distribution maps.

Thomas GibbsThomas Gibbs (1865-1919) was born in Burton-on-Trent, and died in Lindfield in Sussex. His association with the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union began in 1898, around the time when he was living in Sheffield. As well as being a solicitor by profession, he was a proficient botanist with a particular interest in fungi. He was especially interested in the fungi which grow on dung as part of the natural recycling process. The ink-cap Coprinus gibbsii was named in his honour, although this name is now ‘sunk’ within another toadstool species name; another dung-inhabiting species, Coprinus cordisporus, was named by Gibbs himself.



image A watercolour illustration by Seth Lister Mosley of Succisa pratensis Moench, devil's-bit scabious A printed and hand-coloured illustration of Pica pica, magpie, adult; produced as a postcard; this is the illustration used in Birds of Huddersfield (plate II) by Seth Lister Mosley Three cut-out thumbnail illustrations by Seth Lister Mosley of Cynthia cardui, the painted lady butterfly; from right to left, a larva, an adult (upper-side on left side under-side on right), and a pupaA pen-and-ink and watercolour illustration of fly agaric, Amanita muscaria; from Ash Vale, near Aldershot, Surrey, 25th October 1895; by Thomas Gibbs