You are here:Home/Resources/ Highlights from the Collections/ Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants/ Visualizing Knowledge/ Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Pieter Sluyter after Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), hand-colored etching and engraving, from Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium (Amsterdam: Oosterwyk, 1719), plate 45
Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Born into the family of a celebrated Frankfurt printmaker, Matthäus Merian, and trained by her stepfather, still-life painter Jacob Marrel, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) left the comforts of Amsterdam for the uncertainties of the Dutch colony of Suriname in 1699. Assisted by her younger daughter, Dorothea Maria Graff, she spent almost two years making sketches and watercolors of tropical plants and insects, which she would later translate into hand-colored prints. The image of a peacock flower (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)—whose seeds, as Merian sympathetically observed, were used as an abortifacient by the indigenous women and African slaves mistreated by their masters—includes the lifecycle of the Carolina sphinx moth extracting the nectar with its proboscis.

 
Go To Referenced ItemMore information ...

More Exhibit Items

Lychnis coronaria
Lychnis coronaria

Artist unknown, woodcut, from Pietro Andrea Mattioli, Commentarii in sex libros Pedacci Dioscoridis (Venice: Valgrisi, 1565)

Woodblock of Imperatoria
Woodblock of Imperatoria

Artist unknown, ca. 1560s, 22 × 16 × 2 cm, wood carving

Partial reproduction of woodblock of Imperatoria
Partial reproduction of woodblock of Imperatoria

Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen, 2020, 22 × 16 × 2 cm, wood carving

Kielmeyera oblonga
Kielmeyera oblonga

Wilhelm Sandler, 55 × 38 cm, hand-colored lithograph, from Johann Emanuel Pohl, Plantarum Brasiliae icones et descriptions, vol. 2 (Vienna: Strauss, 1827–31)

Lafoensia densiflora
Lafoensia densiflora

Wilhelm Sandler, 55 × 38 cm, hand-colored lithograph, from Johann Emanuel Pohl, Plantarum Brasiliae icones et descriptions, vol. 2 (Vienna: Strauss, 1827–31)

Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Pieter Sluyter after Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), hand-colored etching and engraving, from Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium (Amsterdam: Oosterwyk, 1719), plate 45

Ananas comosus
Ananas comosus

Joseph Mulder after Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), hand-colored etching and engraving, from Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium (Amsterdam: Oosterwyk, 1719), plate 1

Carica papaya; or, papaw tree
Carica papaya; or, papaw tree

Lydia Byam (1772–after 1799), watercolor, from A Collection of Exotics, from the Island of Antigua, by a Lady (London: White, ca. 1799), plate 9

Carica papaya, or, papaw tree; the female tree
Carica papaya, or, papaw tree; the female tree

Lydia Byam (1772–after 1799), watercolor, from A Collection of Exotics, from the Island of Antigua, by a Lady (London: White, ca. 1799), plate 10

Musa
Musa

Giovanna Garzoni (1600–70), Musa, watercolor and gouache, from Piante Varie (ca. 1631), folio 8r

Thymelaea
Thymelaea

Giovanna Garzoni (1600–70), watercolor and gouache, signed “GARZON,” from Piante Varie (ca. 1631), folio 34r

Vase of flowers
Vase of flowers

Anna Maria Vaiani (fl. 1627–50), engraving, signed “Anna M.a Vaiana,” from Giovanni Battista Ferrari, De florum cultura (Rome: Stephanus Paulinus, 1633)

Iris
Iris

Magdalena Rosina Funck, née Heuchelin (1672–95), watercolor, from Blumenbuch (1692)

Strelitzia reginae. Canna-leaved strelitzia
Strelitzia reginae. Canna-leaved strelitzia

Augusta Jane Robley, née Penfold (1809–68), color lithograph, from Augusta Robley, A Selection of Madeira Flowers, drawn and coloured from nature, with text by Reverend William Lewes Pugh Garnons (1791–1863) (London: Reeve, Brothers, 1845), plate 1

Sechium edule. The eatable choko, or chou-chou
Sechium edule. The eatable choko, or chou-chou

Augusta Jane Robley, née Penfold (1809–68), color lithograph, from Augusta Robley, A Selection of Madeira Flowers, drawn and coloured from nature, with text by Reverend William Lewes Pugh Garnons (1791–1863) (London: Reeve, Brothers, 1845), plate 4

Dahlias
Dahlias

Clara Maria Pope, née Leigh (1767–1838), 1818, 58.2 × 49.6 cm, gouache with gum arabic, signed and dated “Clara Maria Pope 1818,” illustration for Samuel Curtis, The Beauties of Flora (Gamston: Curtis, 1820)

Polyanthus
Polyanthus

Clara Maria Pope, née Leigh (1767–1838), before 1820, 58.2 × 49.6 cm, watercolor and gouache, signed “Clara Maria Pope,” illustration for Samuel Curtis, The Beauties of Flora (Gamston: Curtis, 1820)

Roses, lilacs, and lilies
Roses, lilacs, and lilies

Camille de Chantereine (1810–47), ca. 1834–47, 34.8 × 26.5 cm, watercolor on vellum, signed in pencil “C de Chantereine / Peintre de fleurs de La Majesté / l’Imperatrice Douairière du Brazil / Duchesse de Braganza”

Amaryllis fulgida
Amaryllis fulgida

Priscilla Susan Bury, née Falkner (1799–1872), 1832, 54 × 42.5 cm, gouache, signed and dated “P. S. Bury del.t Apr. 1832”