In the early days of natural history illustration, artists often had to rely on second hand sketches or written descriptions when drawing new and exotic animals. From this limited visual data artists were forced to imagine aspects of the animal when creating final illustrations for publication, the artistic licence taken inevitably resulting in the inclusion of many fabricated and distorted features.

 

These images of animals were filtered through many illustrators hands and thus altered each consecutive time, from original sketch to final illustration and copying by others after that, and much like in 'Chinese whispers', the end result often bared little resemblance to the actual animal.

 

This 'Chinese whispers' effect can also be seen to happen online, on social media, blogs and news sites, with misinformation being spread as a story is repeated and retold and thus often distorted along the way.

 

Reflecting this idea, with fellow illustrators providing initial sketches of insects made and sent using the Snapchat app, which were then in turn embellished with imagined details, the insects on display here are the end result of a deliberately distorted chain of communication.