In 1871 Marianne North, a forty-year old woman from a wealthy Victorian family, embarked on an adventure to paint the plants of the world. Even by today’s standards, North’s travels are an amazing accomplishment. You might think Marianne North is a one-of-a-kind wonder, however she shares the title of brave pioneering female naturalist with women such as Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) who was one of the first to describe metamorphosis, and Jeanne Baret (1740-1807) who was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe and the herb woman whose expertise as a field botanist made her an invaluable asset to botanist Philibert Commerson during the Bougainville expedition (1765-1768).
Through her paintings, Marianne North made several contributions to the field of botany. This month we have the unique opportunity to learn more about Marianne North from Katie Zimmerman, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge whose research is dedicated to the work of this fearless naturalist and artist.
Please welcome Katie Zimmerman, the Featured Scholar for May!
About Katie Zimmerman
Katie is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge and an instructor at the University of Washington where she teaches courses in the history of science. She is broadly interested in the relationship between art and science, the geography of knowledge, and Victorian natural history. Before taking up her dissertation on Marianne North, Katie taught high school and university courses in Warsaw, Poland, worked at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, and earned her MA in the history of science at Oregon State. Katie lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, two children, and a dog named Huxley – all of whom greatly admire and appreciate the botanical wonderland produced by that rainy state.