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Maria Merian's Butterflies

Banner for Maria Merian exhibition
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.
  • This event is in the past
    Daily (Thursday 14 Apr 2016 - Sunday 9 Oct 2016)

In 1699, the German artist and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian set sail for Suriname, in South America. There she would spend two years studying the animals and plants which she encountered, aiming to explore the life-cycle of insects (then only partially understood). Those studies led to the publication of the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (the Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname), a luxury volume which brought the wonders of Suriname to Europe.

Maria Merian's Butterflies tells Merian’s story through her works in the Royal Collection, acquired by George III. Many are luxury versions of the plates of the Metamorphosis, partially printed and partially hand painted onto vellum by the artist herself. Over three hundred years after they were made, these meticulous, brilliant works celebrate a woman whose art and whose story are enduringly popular.

Maria Merian's Butterflies is shown at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace with Scottish Artists 1750 – 1900: From Caledonia to the Continent.

Exhibition Highlights

    School sessions

    Key stages 4 & 5
    The art of sketchbooks

    Students will work with freelance artists to examine the variety of styles and techniques on display that can be applied to the students' own sketchbooks.

    Key stage 1
    Very Happy Butterflies

    Using the Maria Merian's Butterflies exhibition at The Queen's Gallery as a starting point, children will examine the life-cycle of the butterfly

    Key stages 2, 3, 4 & 5
    Away with words: A Creative Writing workshop - Travel Writing

    This workshop highlights the many possibilities for inspiring Creative Writing about the subject of Travel from works of art

    Key stage 2
    Art Alive! Drama workshop

    Taking inspiration from the Scottish Artists 1750-1900: From Caledonia to the Continent exhibition pupils will participate in a variety of in...

    The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.