Jones' 'Icones' is one of the most beautiful and scientifically important early works on butterfly and moth (Lepidoptera) collections found in Britain. Completed in the late 18th century by a relatively unknown amateur entomologist, William Jones of Chelsea, the 'Icones' is a six volume manuscript of paintings and descriptions representing over 760 Lepidoptera species from around the world. While its beauty is immediately apparent, its importance as a snapshot of insect collecting at a time in history when many of these species where first being described is what makes Jones' 'Icones' a true treasure of the natural history.
In 2012 an application was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund, through their 'Your Heritage' funding stream, to catalogue and digitise the William Jones Collection at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History - a project called 'Flying Icons'. Though this was the first time a formal application had been submitted to a funding body in the heritage sector, this was a project that had been conceived, attempted, and desired for a very long time.
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