Maria Sybilla Merian
(1647 - 1717)
Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium
In June of 1699, the artist-naturalist Maria Sybilla Merian departed from Amsterdam,
along with her daughter Dorothea Maria, on a arduous journey to the Dutch colony
of Surinam on the northeastern coast of South America. There she would observe the
insect world and the plants that inextricably connected to their life process. In
1705, two small editions were published, with 60 engraved plates, in Latin and Dutch.
Financial success finally came, but too late. On the day Maria died, Tsar Peter
the Great concluded a transaction with her to purchase a two-volume collection of
unbound paintings, as well as her journal of studies, Studienbuch.
In all, three editions of Merian's Metamorphosis were published. The later two include
12 additional plates. Examples of Metamorphosis in good condition with original
color are extremely rare.
The Edition in the library at Kew Gardens is a first (1705) edition which was colored
by Merian herself. Our edition faithfully replicates even the most subtle nuances
of the oxidized whites and blues of the original eighteenth century color.
This set also includes in the collection the additional 12 plates engraved by her
daughter and introduced in the second edition.
Images may be viewed in the
Price range for individual prints: $400 - $1,200
Complete set of seventy-two plates: Introductory price: $12,000