John Lorne Campbell’s Lepidoptera is a collection within a collection. It is the result of a lifetime’s passion and an invaluable record of Hebridean butterflies and moths.

From the age of 10 John diligently recorded the moths and butterflies seen in the surrounding meadows and marshes of his family’s estates in Argyll. His childhood notebook, still in Canna House, lists purple hairstreaks, red-and-black Cinnabar moths and orange-and-brown marsh fritillaries.

John Lorne Campbell caught in the region of 120,000 specimens during his lifetime, and over 300 different species are preserved in more than 30 cabinets and drawers at Canna House. His systematic research on Hebridean moths and butterflies is unique, beginning on Barra in 1936 and continuing on Canna from 1938.

Today Campbell’s collection contains a large proportion of specimens from the isles of Barra and Canna together with a handful of exotic examples from overseas. His research is invaluable as few have attempted to record Lepidoptera over such an extended period using standardised methods.

John Lorne Campbell in the woods near Canna House
Butterflies and moths