Posted: 13 March 2020
Category: Company News
Marianne North – An Extraordinary Artist And Pioneer
Anyone that has strolled around the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew would hopefully have come across an attractive red brick building, with a wrap around verandah, which houses a quite remarkable collection of botanical paintings. All 832 of them, worked in oils, were painted by Marianne North. This extraordinary woman travelled in the Victorian period to far flung, remote and often inhospitable, parts of the world at a time when travelling was very difficult but for a woman travelling unaccompanied, almost unheard of.
Born into a wealthy, titled, family she was first inspired to capture the beauty of tropical flowers by a trip to Kew, with her father, when she was 26 years old. On his death in 1869 she found solace in her painting and two years later, with the luxury of time and money, she was able to pursue her ambition. Over the next 14 years she visited 15 countries. She was relentless in her pursuit of capturing, in her paintings, rare and exotic plants and flowers. She would think nothing of trekking deep into tropical rain forests or climbing treacherous mountain paths.
She offered her collection of paintings to Kew and even paid for a building in which to house them. The gallery was completed and opened to the public in 1882 and has inspired and enchanted visitors ever since. The overall impression when you enter the gallery is one of wonder, an explosion of colour and botanical brilliance.
On a recent insurance valuation we were intrigued to come across two works by the artist. Very few paintings are known outside of those owned by descendants of the great lady or those housed at Kew, so it was a great surprise to find them on the wall of a house in Sussex. It transpires that they were purchased from a family member a number of years ago, thus reinforcing their provenance and indeed value.< BACK TO POSTS