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Fearless World Traveler

Adventures of Marianne North, Botanical Artists



Holiday House (pub.5.11.2021) 48 pages

Author: Laurie Lawlor

Illustrator: Becca Stadtlander

Character: Marianne North


"In 1882, Marianne North showed the gray city of London paintings of jaw-dropping greenery like they'd never seen before.

As a self-taught artist and scientist, Marianne North subverted Victorian gender roles and advanced the field of botanical illustration. Her technique of painting specimens in their natural environment was groundbreaking. The legendary Charles Darwin was among her many supporters.

Laurie Lawlor deftly chronicles North's life, from her restrictive childhood to her wild world travels to the opening of the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens to her death in 1890. The North gallery at Kew Gardens remains open to the public today."

Tantalizing taste:

" Marianne slept anywhere - hammock, mat, or straw pallet. Often she shared her shelter with pesky rats, lizards, stinging ants, giant spiders, and poisonous snakes. More than once marauding crows tried to steal her glittering tubes of paint. Never a picky eater, she consumed anything - from squid to mangoes, from crabs to guavas."

And something more: Marianne North's Legacy, at the back of the book, shares an anecdote about the times and prejudices Marianne faced, but also her spunk: "An early visitor, who wandered in by accident while Marianne was still getting ready for the opening, was said to have been nearly knocked breathless by the display. [He asked] 'It isn't true what they say about all these being painted by one woman, is it?' When Marianne replied that yes, she had indeed done them all, the man was flabbergasted. 'You!' he declared 'Then it is lucky for you that you did not live two hundred years ago, or you would have been burned for a witch.' Marianne took this as a back-handed compliment."


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