Botanical Illustration by Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian (born 1647 in Frankfurt/Main) began studying insects early in her life, particularly the life cycle of caterpillars and butterflies and how the transformation happens. And here is what is really impressive. In 1699 the city of Amsterdam sponsored Merian to travel to Surinam with her daughter, Dorothea Maria. (Notice that Maria Sibylla was 52 when she traveled to South America. I have always loved antique botanical illustration. And I particularly like the ones with dark background:

Botanical Illustration: Auslaendische Kulturpflanzen
Botanical Illustration: Auslaendische Kulturpflanzen

I might replace my “Curiosity” prints with some of the “Auslaendische Kulturpflanzen” in my bathroom…

My tiny bathroom...

And then, there is Mary Delaney, born in 1700 who was very skilled at needlework and started to create floral paper collages in the 1770s when she was just over 70 years old. (Well there seems to be still hope for me.) She used mainly colored paper, which she pasted on black paper. Sometimes she supplemented with water color when she did not find a particular shade, but it seems that it was rather an exception.

Botanical Paper Collage

Botanical Paper Collage

Botanical Paper Collage
Copyright (c) British Museum

Here is the source of the two images of the vintage plates “Auslaendischen Kulturpflanzen”:
Vintage Printables (a great resource with all royalty free images)
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5 Responses to “Botanicals”

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  1. mayaluna says:

    love these so much!

  2. Margie Oomen says:

    i love vintage botanical prints and biology charts

  3. DevineDesignStudios says:

    Thank-you for the info packed article, beautiful images and Vintage Printables link! As our society becomes increasingly health & eco conscious I believe the beautiful botanical prints of the past will become in vogue once again.

  4. Emily and Hannah says:

    I, too, love botanical prints. That last one with the black background is breathtaking! I really like your blog, but the way:)


  1. […] book “The Paper Garden” is a fascinating biography about Mary Delany (already mentioned here) who did just that: at the age of 72 she created breathtaking cut paper flowers portraits – […]

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