Today marks the birth of Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717), a Swiss natural and scientific illustrator with a huge passion for plants and insects that drove her to study and paint them in great detail.
She worked as a botanic artist and spent most of her life studying and composing amazing paintings from her observation of nature. She published three collections of engravings of plants in 1675, 1677, and 1680 and was the first person to clearly record the life cycle of moths and butterflies.
Why does Violet Darkling admire this ambitious lady?
Well, firstly, because she was also obsessive about detail and she gave life to her paintings just as Violet Darkling gives to her jewellery.
Secondly, because she made a self-funded expedition to Suriname, South America where she recorded a bunch of previously unknown flora and fauna. She described the life cycles of 186 insect species and she invented a washable fabric cloth as well as publishing several books.
Moreover, she did all of this in a period when oil-paints were not considered lady like, the western world believed moths and butterflies came from mud, and ladies were advised not to travel to tropical climates due to possible danger to their health.
So many reasons why this brave woman is such an inspiration to Violet Darkling.