Museum open Weds–Mon, Sea Center on Stearns Wharf open daily; both 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
March 6, 2023

Victorian Botanical Illustrations by Women Adorn SB Museum of Natural History’s Walls

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s newest exhibit, Drawn by a Lady: Early Women Illustrators, celebrates the talent of artists and authors in 19th century Victorian England who were disregarded because of their gender.

Over 40 works of early botanical illustration are on view profiling the lives of eight women who defied convention in an era when it was socially unacceptable for them to earn a living. Denied access to formal education, they used their skills in drawing and painting to make meaningful contributions to the emerging field of botany. They wrote and illustrated books, sometimes published anonymously, using their husband’s name, or credited simply,…”By a Lady.”

Maximus Gallery Curator Linda Miller shares, “Drawn by a Lady provides a fascinating look at gender issues in the history of science. For Victorian women, illustrating and writing about plants could be a means to both support themselves and to shape botanical knowledge.”

The exhibition is open March 10 through July 2, 2023 and is included in Museum admission. Members are always admitted free.

Download Press Release (PDF)