Maria Merian’s Butterflies

28th May 2017

I’m one of those people that just can’t have a real lazy Sunday. No matter how much I want to, if I don’t leave my flat even for just one day, I end up feeling on edge and flat out of energy. So last Sunday, I picked up a pastry from my favourite store in Abbeyhill and decided I was going to see Maria Merian’s Butterflies. Not really a butterfly fan, but something about a woman in the 1700s travelling to South America to draw bugs was kind of intriguing…

Maria Sibylla Merian was a badass woman. In 1699, she set sail for Suriname and spent two years there venturing into the jungle to study all kinds of terrifyingly beautiful insects. Not only was she an entomologist, but she was a painter as well. And so there I was wandering around the Queen’s Gallery admiring her paintings of spiders, butterflies, moths and flowers…my favourites were decorated with gold or silver paint.

This lady was so good at her work that she has been described at the first ever ecologist and dedicated her book ‘Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium‘ to ‘all lovers and investigators of nature’.

This was the first time I had visited the Queen’s Gallery at Holyrood. My ticket was less than £10 and lasts a year which is definitely worth it. I couldn’t believe how pretty the gallery was too; the door handles to the foot of the staircase had miniature bronze sculptures of people admiring art on them. ‘Maria Merian’s Butterflies’ will be there until 23rd July, and it’ll be followed by ‘Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855’.




1 comments so far.

One response to “Maria Merian’s Butterflies”

  1. Jean Smith says:

    Very informative short piece. As you say, even if you’re not too keen on “bugs” the artwork is beautiful and lady very interesting

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