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The Great Plague of 1875

Graphite on Paper
55 x 80cm

In 1875, a vast outbreak of Rocky Mountain locusts caused unprecedented levels of destruction across the American Mid-West. Some estimates suggest that the swarm was at one point 1000 miles long, and 100 wide. Within 20 years however, the species had vanished - it had burned itself out, and become extinct. This drawing overlays a hand-drawn copy of the affected region taken from a period map, over a study of a specimen of the Rocky Mountain locust, held in the collections of the Natural History Museum, London.

With many thanks to Judith Marshall at the NHM for her generosity in time and expertise.