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Philodendron

Margaret Mee (1909–88), 64 × 47 cm, gouache. Loan, The Shirley Sherwood Collection, UK
Philodendron

Philodendron depicts a species from the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon. The work is undated but the collector, Dr. Sherwood, believes that Mee painted the plant and added the background later. Botanical art and illustration alike place a spotlight on a particular plant by removing it from its natural context and depicting it alone, often against a white background. In her later paintings, Mee occasionally diverged from this convention and added the forest background to show the plant in interaction with its environment, symbolically returning it to its native habitat and reminding us of the endangered system of environmental relationships in the Amazon.

 

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Couroupita guianensis
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Margaret Mee (1909–88), 1956, 64 × 46 cm, gouache. Loan, The Shirley Sherwood Collection, UK

Philodendron
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Margaret Mee (1909–88), 64 × 47 cm, gouache. Loan, The Shirley Sherwood Collection, UK

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