Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Toujours Felis catus; Maria Sibylla Merian's fabulous color prints of nature in metamorphosis

How did you fare yesterday vis à vis April Fools Day? My  favorite online pranks had to be Woodstock suing Twitter to be its official spokesperson and Vimeo turning into "Vimeow," a cat video site. I know the latter will strike a chord amongst Daedalus Books customers, who appear to be quite the cat fanciers (two cat books are currently among the top 10 of bestselling titles across all genres on our website). If you are amongst those legions of feline fans, you will also enjoy Cat People by Margaret and Michael Korda or mayhap Secrets of the Cat: Its Lore, Legend, and Lives by Barbara Holland.

Today I'm so gratified to see Google celebrating 18th-century botanical and insect artist Maria Sibylla Merian. Besides making staggeringly beautiful and scientifically detailed drawings on her travels in Surinam, Merian does not appear to have been at all squeamish; witness the engraving below from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium: "Spiders, ants and hummingbird on a branch of a guava" (Tarantula: Avicularia avicularia) 1705. Follow the link in this Smithsonian blog post for an entire page of digitized Merian images to enlarge and enjoy.

Keen on beautifully illustrated tomes that celebrate nature? Try Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art, and Landscape Design; Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!: Notes from a Gloucester Garden; or another of our bestselling titles: Beetles and Bugs: Nature Fact File (currently in our Children's Top 10). 


  1. I absolutely love the last drawing. I never knew I would be more drawn to illustrations of bugs over flowers, but maybe I just find bugs a bit more fascinating. All are very beautiful regardless. Thanks to both you AND Google today!

  2. I love the details in all of the drawings. The first one, the flowers, is a bug hanging out in the basket?

    1. I think that one's unusual in that there aren't any bugs in it!

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