Words by Jessica Peace
If you haven’t you haven’t killed a few hours in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew yet then add it to your pilgrimage list. North was a botanist, artist, traveller, biologist, and mate of Charles Darwin’s.
North, we salute you!
A LIFE PAINTING PLANTS
The young North actually loved banging out a tune but after a struggle with her vocal cords she grabbed a paint brush instead. Starting by painting the plants at Kew and on trips to Europe, at the age of 39 with both parents recently dead she thought F’it, she’d just do what she wanted to do: travel the world and paint all the mad flowers she found. And that she did!
This Victorian lass went all over, including sitting in a hut in a Brazilian rainforest knockin’ out pictures for a year. LOVE her. Not waiting for an invitation (why would you?), North waltzed up to the blokes at Kew and announced she’d be building a gallery to house her paintings; and it’s still there, stuffed floor to ceiling with her work.
GOT HER NAME ON IT
If you see ‘northiana’; ‘northianum’; or ‘Northia’ you know it’s been named after our Plant Hero Marianne North.