A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

With a collective name as descriptive as “kaleidoscope” it’s easy to picture a group of butterflies lazily floating above a sun-dappled meadow or dancing in the cool shade by a burbling stream (forgive us – we’re making up for the lack of a real summer outside by imagining one here). However, a kaleidoscope of butterflies also perfectly describes the contents of SD 1705/MS1887, a set of beautiful painted butterfly designs from Minton’s Art & Design folios. But are these designs modelled after real butterflies, and if so what species are represented?

Lepidopterists we are not but we think we’ve successfully identified two native species: the Orange-tip (no. 8 on the image below) and the Peacock (no. 11 on the image below). That’s as far as we can get on our own however, so we’d like you to help us identify the rest!

If you recognise any of the other butterflies (or want to correct our two identifications) please let us know in the comments below, or via our Contact Us page. That also applies if you think the designs might be based on real species but with the addition of some artistic license, or even if you think they might be completely fictitious – it’s all useful information to help us understand these artworks better. Bear in mind all comments are moderated so they may take a little while to appear on the site depending on when you post.


Our downloadable PDF features larger versions of each of the designs to make identification even easier.

2 Responses to “A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies”

  1. John Attiwell

    3 is an 88 butterfly (Diaethria anna) from South America
    4 is one of the South American morphos (Morpho spp.)
    5 is an Apollo (Parnassius apollo) or one of its relatives, upland central & western Europe, or one of its cogeners (closely related species).
    8 is an Orange tip (Anthocharis cardimines) from Northern and Western Europe
    11 is a Peacock (Aglais io [syn. Nymphalis io, Inachis io] also from Northern and Western Europe

    Many of the others look vaguely familiar. 2, 7 and 12 are real species for sure, if I had all my books to hand I could do better!

    Hope this helps.

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