'Common humble bee', from The Naturalist's Library, vol. 38 Entomology, edited by William Jardine
(Edinburgh, W.H. Lizars, 1840)
1150.b.1   16.5 x 10 cm

common bee

The fine, clear outlines produced by steel engraving made it particularly suitable for colouring by hand. Hand colouring itself was popular for natural history and botanical illustration because the artist was not limited in his choice of colours, and could produce an accurate representation of animals and plants. Perhaps because hand colouring of this quality was such a skilled, expensive and time-consuming process, the artist of this work (intended for a wider market) has coloured only the bees.