‘Marianne North, an unmarried middle-aged Victorian lady of comfortable means, set off in 1871 on her first expedition to make a pictorial record of the tropical and exotic plants of the world. Marianne produced more than 860 paintings which are housed in a special gallery at Kew.
- Marianne North was born in 1830 in Hastings where her father was a well to do member of Parliament.
- She traveled with her father until his death in 1871 after which, at the age of 41, she visited North America, Jamaica and Brazil.
- In 1875 she visited the Americas, Japan, India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Later visiting Java, Seychelles and Chile. All the while she was painting the species and specimen plants she discovered.
- A variety of plants were painted in situe and five were named after her.
- The majority of her paintings were given to Kew Gardens and she funded and organised a gallery in which to display them.
- The gallery is unusual because it contains 832 paintings almost her entire work.
- The Marianne North Gallery is one of the most popular attractions of Kew Garden and the paintings still remain in their original Victorian arrangement.
- Whilst in USA she became friendly with Edward Lear, U.S. President Grant, and Charles Darwin. Julia Margaret Cameron photographed her in Ceylon.