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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
15 NOVEMBER 2011

Jonathan Meades: Reading Stowe Gardens

"Stowe Park, a story filled with stories, is, says Meades, 'an anthology of boasts.' Take, for example, the temples of Ancient Virtues, British Worthies and Modern Virtues. Set in the Elysian Fields, reflected in the waters of the River Styx, they are Cobham's version of the good, the great and the downright bad: old heroes in the first, modern heroes in the second and everything that is rubbish about eighteenth century today signifed by the ruins of the third, and by a headless statue of none other than his arch enemy, Walpole. It is a big old Whig boast, and hilariously obvious. Obvious, that is, if you're a member of the Kit Cat Club , or someone with enough of a reading in the classics, in British history, in Cobhams Machiovelian shenanigons. Otherwise, like most of us, you'll be needing that there guide book."

(26 October 2011, FreeState)

Abroad Again: Season 1, Episode 5, Stowe: Reading a Garden (6 June 2007) [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1180365/].

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TAGS

18th century2007 • architectural folly • aristocracyboasting • classical ideals • classical virtues • decorationdesign formalism • enclosed world • English garden • English landscape garden • English landscape movement • English landscape park • Enlightenment landscapes • European Enlightenment • follies • formal design • gardengarden design • garden follies • garden ornaments • gardening style • ha-ha • ha-ha wall • historical era • historical recreationidealismidyl • idyllic pastoral landscape • James Gibbs • Jardin anglais • John Soane • John Vanbrugh • Jonathan Meades • landscape architect • landscape architecture • landscape garden • ornamental design • pastoral landscape • picturesque • picturesque architecture • planting • reading a garden • Reading A Garden (2007) • Robert Adam • Robert Payton • Stowe Gardens • Stowe House • Stowe School • sublimesymmetrical patterntelevision documentarytheme parkUKview of naturevisual symbolism • Whigs • William Kent

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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