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Biographical entry Fountaine, Margaret Elizabeth (1862 - 1940)

Natural history collector and Natural history artist


Margaret Elizabeth Fountaine was one of the most prolific and famous butterfly collectors of her time. She not only collected the butterflies but breed them so she could study their lifecycle. Fountaine became an expert in tropical butterfly life cycles and was a talented artist who made many detailed and beautiful watercolours of her specimens.

In 1890 Fountaine left her sedate family life in the United Kingdom to travel the world in search of butterflies. She travelled extensively through Europe, America, India and South Africa before coming to Queensland, Australia in 1914 where she remained until 1917. Fountaine's collection of close to 22,000 butterflies, including 153 specimens from Queensland, were bequeathed to the Castle Museum in Norwich, UK.

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Scott-Stokes, Natascha, Wild and Fearless: the life of Margaret Fountaine (Peter Owen Ltd, 2006). Details

Edited Books

  • McKay, Judith ed., Brilliant Careers: Women Collectors and Illustrators in Queensland (Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1997), 80 pp. Details


Annette Alafaci