Passiflora Laurifloria. Collage by Mary Delany.
“Living as she did in an age of exploration, she was drawn to the revolution in botanical knowledge. Patrick Delany, her husband, was a dedicated gardener and much influenced by the garden designs of his close friend, the poet Alexander Pope. At Delville, the Delanys landscaped a wonderful garden, while Mrs Delany went on to become a major botanical artist.
During the late 18th century, gardening became the new religion, with botany and art merging in the name of science. In the absence of cameras, it was the botanical artist, the greatest of all of whom was the German master Georg Dionysius Ehret, who recorded the beauty and exact detail of plants that provided the scientist with source material.
Mary Delany created dramatic and precise collages, made from coloured paper, much of which she had dyed herself. The works were then mounted on black backgrounds. Describing her method in a letter to her niece, dated October 4th, 1772, she wrote: “I have invented a new way of imitating flowers”. She was then 72.”
via The Irish Times