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Butterfly Setting & Preserving

Crouch End, London   

• Learn the art of butterfly setting & preserving
• Hosted by Suzette at her studio in Crouch End
• Modern take on Victorian art of butterfly collecting
• Take your butterfly set home with you

What's Included

• Learn how to prep, preserve, mount and position your butterfly specimens
• All materials, tools and specimens are provided and participants can take their work home
• You will be provided with 6 butterfly specimens to frame
• Tea, coffee and a vegetarian lunch is provided
• Allow 2.5 hours for this experience
• You will form part of a small group of up to 12 participants

What Can I Expect

Spread your wings and get into butterfly setting and preserving! Learn how to display butterflies on a spreading board with the help of expert taxidermist and artist Suzette Field. These one-day workshops at Suzette's studio in Crouch End will show you how.

This delicate form of insect taxidermy was a hugely popular pastime for the Victorians, with the likes of Churchill and Chamberlain curating their own collections of butterflies. It has since fallen out of favour, but more recently artists such as Damien Hirst (who said: 'Everyone loves butterflies') have championed this art of displaying and preserving butterflies.

Indeed, when you think of butterfly setting and preserving, you probably picture heavy mahogany cabinets with sliding drawers smelling of mothballs, filled with examples of colourful butterflies and moths pinned to boards, with neatly written descriptions beside each one. Proud collectors boasted specimens from around the world, in an age when travel was for the few.

Butterfly collecting also harks back to halycon days of care-free childhoods, running around meadows with a net. Butterfly collecting, setting and preservation was a fascination for many. Now it is a rare thing. You are legally allowed to collect butterflies, as long as you have the land owner's permission and as long as they are not on the list of rare species.

You'll be pleased to hear our taxidermy expert sources all her insects and animals responsibly. The aim of her workshops is to revive this traditional hobby, with a modern, more artistic twist. It's actually more like art and science combined, as you learn how to prepare the butterfly and then place your specimen.

The lepidopterist's friend is the entomologist's forceps. Rather like tweezers, this sharp-pointed instrument is what you'll be using to gently move and spread the wings of the butterfly. The very knowledgeable Suzette will be guiding you at every stage of the butterfly setting process and at the end of the workshop you get to take home your creations. Book this unusual, but very creative and enjoyable day out!


• Selected Sundays between January and May, subject to availability
• Sessions generally start at 12:00 finishing at 14:30


• Crouch End, London N8

Suitable For

• Minimum age 16
• Under 18s will require parental consent


• This experience is not suitable for spectators

Anything Else

• All specimens are ethically sourced and were not killed specifically for the workshops
• No dangerous chemicals will be used and all specimens are disease free
• Participants are not permitted to bring their own dead specimens to the class
• You will take home your butterflies in a frame which is provided
• If you wish to display your butterflies in an alternative display such as a bell jar please bring your own with you on the day
butterfly frame
Butterfly Setting & Preserving
Butterfly Preserving
Total Price£45.00
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