Friday, 12 September 2008

Czech Butterflies

The butterflies that grace the Czech Republic are more varied and more frequent than those we get in England. Our garden is full of them dancing in the late summer sun, as I sit in my plastic chair watching. Some are quite plain – butterflies from the woods in a range of browns and subtle dappledness. Other are lighter - large and small brimstones, frittilaries, swallowtails, others are familiar like the many peacocks and tortoiseshells. I pursue them with camera in hand, but rarely get the photo I want.

Of all them, this beauty is my favourite and not just because it posed so obligingly. It is large (much larger than butterflies I see in my Cotswold garden) its wings are dark brown, edged with cream, and decorated with a line of turquoise flecks so intense they glow in the sunshine. Its beauty is subtle not flashy, an classy gem of a butterfly. The book says it's a Camberwell Beauty – well, I lived and worked in South East London and I never saw this butterfly anywhere there and certainly not in Camberwell.


Philip Wilkinson said...

Samuel Jones and Co of Peckham and Camberwell used the Camberwell Beauty as their symbol on stationery lines such as sticky tape - the butterfly was first caught in England in Coldharbour Lane. Jones's factory had a large ceramic butterfly on top. This butterfly was taken down when Jones's left the area in the 1980s but I think might have been moved to another building.

Anonymous said...


Nymphalis antiopa (aka Camberwell Beauty) is an extraordinary rare migrant in your country. In CZE (or continental Europe overall), the species is widespread but hard to see. You may most probably see the species in early Spring (after hibernation), or during Summer (newborn imagos) depending on the weather, climate and sea level.

Marek, Silesia


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