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Artist inspiration - The fantastical style of Marianne North

8th June 2016

If you look closer at the Shadowcat scarf or the Drakon design you will notice the great detail gone into every leaf. The Mythical collection is rich in foliage, from a dragon with a body of flora sprouting from underneath his scales, to cats with tails full of flowers playing among the vines.

The prolific artist Marianne North's paintings strongly influence our drawings, with her fantastical nature, hyper-real style and heightened colours. Born in 1830, North made it her mission to travel the world and paint - we're taking a leaf out of her book!

Right: Ipomoea and Vavangue with Mahe. Copyright RBG Kew

Left: The Permanent snows, from Santiago Right: Foliage, Flowers, and Fruit at the Takamaka, Praslin. Copyright RBG Kew

"Her fantastical nature, hyper-real style and heightened colours"

Right: Native Vanilla hanging from the Wile Orange, Praslin, Seychelles. Copyright RBG Kew

Inspired by her travels, North painted the scenes around her of plants and landscapes. Starting her travels with the United States, Canada and Jamaica she moved on to Brazil, Japan and as further afield as Australia and New Zealand.

Right: Cultivated Flowers, painted in Jamaica. Copyright RBG Kew

Right: Northia hornei, Foliage, flowers and fruit of the Capucin Tree of the Seychelles. Copyright RBG Kew

Upon her return to Britain, her paintings were exhibited in London. With the combination of exotic plants and scenes from around the world being captured in paint, North asked to exhibit her work at Kew Gardens. The Marianne North gallery at Kew Gardens has been recently restored in 2008 and her life's work cover the walls from floor to ceiling! A must see for any botanical art lover.

Right: The restored Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens

Take a closer look at the Mythical designs here. 

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