The drawings of butterflies done by Vladimir Nabokov were intended for “family use.” He made these on title pages of various editions of his works as a gift to his wife and son and sometimes to other relatives. In Brian Boyd’s words, “in these highly personal and affectionately playful drawings the scientific accuracy Nabokov needed in thousands of illustrations of the specimens he studied under the microscope was no longer relevant, and his imagination could take flight. In the butterflies Nabokov devised and labeled for Vera he mingles fact and fancy even more sportively than in his fiction.”
None of these drawings portray real butterflies, both the images and the names he assigns to them are his invention. The names often have some connection to the book that the butterflies adorn and, in most cases, play on words in English and Russian is used: “Paradisia radugaleta”, “Verinia verae”, to name just a few.