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Maria Merian's Butterflies

A beautifully produced collection of Maria Merian's natural history drawings

Kate Heard

With contributions by Dr George McGavin

 192 pages

Every page of this book is a history lesson. If you are an admirer of Merian’s work, this book provides you the opportunity to study her paintings up close ... If this is your first introduction to Merian and her contributions to entomology and natural history art, this book is sure to turn you into a fan of this fearless and passionate naturalist.

Art Plantae

Cover jacket of Maria Merian's Butterflies

Cover jacket of Maria Merian's Butterflies ©

Hardback, 190 x 150 mm, 200 colour illustrations
ISBN 978 1 909741 31 7

German and Japanese rights sold

In 1699, the German entomologist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian set sail for Suriname, in South America. There she would produce a series of beautiful and scientifically accurate illustrations of the natural world which she encountered. These drawings, in which Merian aimed to explore the life-cycle of insects (then only partially understood), led to the publication of the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, a luxury volume which brought the wonders of the wildlife of Suriname to Europe.

Maria Merian's Butterflies tells Merian’s story through her works in the Royal Collection. Over three-hundred years after they were made, these meticulous, brilliant works celebrate a woman whose art and whose story are enduringly popular.

Kate Heard is Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust. Her other publications include George IV: Art & Spectacle, The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714–1760 and High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson

Related exhibition
Maria Merian's Butterflies

The life of artist and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian through her works in the Royal Collection

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Highlights from the publication

Workshop of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Still life with flowers tied at the stems

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Marsh Marigold with the life stages of a frog

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Grape Vine with Gaudy Sphinx Moth

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Ripe Pineapple with Dido Longwing Butterfly

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Frangipani plant with Red Cracker Butterfly

Workshop of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Green Iguana