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16 JUNE 2013

Marianne North: pioneering botanical artist

"Victorian artist Marianne North, one of the only women of her time to travel to places like the Seychelles Islands, Australia, and Chile, and who left behind a trail of impressive art and writing about her botanical discoveries, is not a household name. ...

In 1871, when a 40–year–old North set out after the death of her father to travel around the world and to paint as many of world's flora in oils as possible, she unwittingly found herself both ahead of and behind her times. In the art world, she was definitely not part of the avant–garde; in France, Claude Monet and Pierre–Auguste Renoir had already started their Impressionist paintings, creating works that were worlds away from the status quo of a polished depiction of nature.

North went around the world twice, in fifteen years, traveling by train, boat, mule, and on foot, to every continent, except for Antarctica. In Brazil, where she spent 13 months, North painted lush landscapes and tropical flowers with tight brushstrokes and clean lines – a style that would soon be left behind with the revolutionary style of the Impressionists. North didn't perceive or paint her subjects in a particularly unique way, but she relayed every minute detail of a plant, flower, or landscape with breathtaking precision. Her paintings give you a straight, dispassionate look at an unfamiliar world."

(Alexia Nader, Garden Design)

Fig.1 Marianne North, New Zealand Flowers and Fruit, Date painted: early 1880s, Oil on board, 50.9 x 35.4 cm, Collection: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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187119th centuryaccuracyAotearoa New ZealandartistAustraliabiodiversity • botanical artist • botanical record • BrazilCaliforniaCharles DarwinChiledepiction • dispassionate look • Edward Lear • fidelityfloragarden design • George Eliot • IndiaJapanKew Gardens • Marianne North • natural history • natural landscape • nature • non-European species • Origin of Speciespainting • painting nature • phytotomypioneering womenplant anatomyplantsscientific illustrationscientific illustrator • Seychelles • Seychelles Islands • travel • travel writing • travelogue • tropical plants • UK • unfamiliar world • Victorian art

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2013

The Value of Culture: Culture and the Anthropologists

"Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the idea of culture by considering its use in the discipline of anthropology. In 1871 the anthropologist Edward Tylor published Primitive Culture, an enormously influential work which for the first time placed culture at the centre of the study of humanity. His definition of culture as the 'capabilities and habits acquired by man' ensured that later generations saw culture as common to all humans, and not simply as the preserve of writers and philosophers."

(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)

"The Value of Culture: Culture and the Anthropologists", Radio broadcast, Episode 2 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Monday 01 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.

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TAGS

187119th centuryanima • animism • anthropologist • anthropologybelief systemsbeliefsborrowing • borrowings • capabilities and habits • Charles Lyell • civilisation • complex societies • cultural characteristics • cultural evolutionism • cultural relativismcultureculturescustoms • development of religions • early cultures • Edward Tylor • ethnographersethnographic study • evolution of culture • faith • force of habit • habithabitshistoricismhistoricist • human behaviours • human culture • human customs • human customs and behaviours • humanity • idea of culture • Indigenousleisure timematerial cultureMelvyn Bragg • Pitt Rivers • prehistory • Primitive Culture (book) • primitive cultures • religion • religious belief • science • scientific study • social anthropologysocietysoul • study of humanity • survivals • symbolic behaviourThe Value of Culture (radio)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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