Authorities in New York return 14 looted artefacts valued at $2.5m to Italy, including a black-figure hydria by the renowned Priam Painter
February 2, 2023
‘Extreme right’ attacks contributed to resignation of Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum director, open letter says
February 5, 2023
Authorities in New York return 14 looted artefacts valued at $2.5m to Italy, including a black-figure hydria by the renowned Priam Painter
February 2, 2023
‘Extreme right’ attacks contributed to resignation of Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum director, open letter says
February 5, 2023



ArtHistoryIllustrationScience

#collage#flowers#Mary Delany#paper

Explore Hundreds of Exquisite Botanical Collages Created by an 18th-Century Septuagenarian Artist

February 5, 2023

Grace Ebert

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

All images via The British Museum

At age 72, Mary Delany (1700-1788) devoted herself to her art practice, taking up a form of decoupage to create an exquisite collection of botanical collages from dyed and cut paper. She interpreted many of the delicate specimens she encountered in Buckinghamshire while staying with her friend, the Duchess of Portland, through layered pieces on black backdrops. From the wispy clover-like leaves of an oxalis plant to the wildly splayed petals of the daffodil, the realistic works are both stunning for their beauty and faithfulness to the original lifeforms.

Known for her scientific precision, Delany labeled each specimen with the plant’s taxonomic and common names, the date, location of creation, name of the donor, and a collection number, the latter of which was used to organize all 985 collages in her Flora Delanica series. Together, the works create a vast and diverse florilegium, or compilation of botanicals and writings in the tradition of commonplace books.

The British Museum houses most of Delany’s collages, which you can explore in an interactive archive that has information about the plants, artworks, and the option to zoom in on images of the pieces. You also might enjoy The Paper Garden, a book that delves into the artist’s work and what it means to foster a creative practice.

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

#collage#flowers#Mary Delany#paper

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

First appeared on…

Comments are closed.