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Stand number: 231

The exceptional group of her works in the Royal Collection formed the basis of the exhibition Maria Merian’s Butterflies held last year at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace that travels this year to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.

At the age of 52, Merian, who settled in Amsterdam in 1691, set out for the Dutch colony now known as Surinam in South America. She spent two years studying and drawing the indigenous flora and fauna until forced to return after contracting malaria.

In 1705, she published the lavishly illustrated folio Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam). A copy of the book which established her international reputation is priced at £125,000 by Shapero Rare Books. Merian’s life and work will be celebrated at an international symposium in the Dutch capital this June.