© RBG Kew
The English biologist and botanical artist Marianne North (1830-1890) devoted her life to travelling across the world and documenting the flora, fauna and culture she encountered in a highly accurate way. Having exhibited her work in London in 1879, Marianne offered to give the collection to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and to create a Gallery in which to display them. The building and spaces were designed by James Ferguson. 'I spent a year in fitting and framing, patching and sorting my pictures,' North recalled in her autobiography, 'and finally got it opened to the public on the 7th of June, 1882. I had much trouble but also much pleasure in the work. What need is there now to remember the former?'.
Following a two-year restoration project, the Gallery reopened to the public in 2009. Each of North's 833 paintings, depicting more than 900 species of plants, were conserved and many can be viewed via the online gallery. Touch screen monitors allow visitors to explore 50 of the paintings in detail, complemented by illuminating extracts from the artist's memoirs, while 'then and now' photographs in her studio illustrate the evolution of landscapes featured in four of her works.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
020 8332 3622
Please contact the galleries on 020 8332 3622 to confirm opening hours
© RBG Kew