Friday, 10 April 2015

Marian Ellis Rowan: Butterflies Through Other Eyes #5

I recently discovered these beautiful butterfly paintings by Australian botanical illustrator Marian Ellis Rowan (1848-1922) in an auction catalogue and had to share.

Ellis Rowan was born into a well to do family and had no formal training in art and design but was encouraged to paint natural subjects in watercolour by her husband. Ellis Rowan travelled extensively throughout Australia and America documenting the flora and fauna of these countries and her work was published in a series of books on natural history which documented wildlife.

Two years before her death she held an exhibition of her work which featured 1000 of her paintings and was the largest solo exhibition by an artist at that time. They are exquisite observations of butterflies, typical of that Victorian era of classifying and cataloguing various species of wildlife. They are all the more interesting considering that Ellis Rowan was a self-taught artist.