"Native Flowers of Australia, Engraved by my dear Mary". Hand color engravings.

Ca. 1845. Two exquisite small hand colored engravings on cards of bouquets of native Australian flowers, by an unidentified artist, signed with the initials "M. M. A".

The exquisite engravings are by one hand, colored with watercolor. Very delicately depicted, in great detail, the two bouquets include red spider orchids, Boronia, Grevillea, lilies, Everlastings (native daisy), Egg and Bacon, and other orchids. These are plants are found in the southeast of Australia, including Tasmania.

The two cards are laid down on pink thick paper, what looks to be scrap album paper. The cards are elegantly tipped in with small gilt scrap thistle shaped flowers, with 8 of these gilt scrap holders per engraving. The plate outline is visible in both. The elegant handwritten note is written in period ink across the top of page.

Mary is possibly the talented wife of an artist, with access to the necessary materials and tools for engraving, which was unusual for a woman of the period. After an extensive search including WorldCat, Trove and the internet generally, we were unable to identify the artist. The Dictionary of British Women Artists records 2 women with the same initials, Mary Margaret Anderton (active 1870s - 1910s) who was a painter who exhibited at the Society of Woman Artists, and who painted a work "Wild Flowers and Nest", but we feel this paper precludes her. The other possible artist is Margaret Allen who was active in the 1850s and painted 'An Irish Wild Flower'. (The Dictionary of British Women Artists. Gray, Sara. Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 2009).

Each engraving 5 1/4 x 3 3/4", on a sheet 10 1/2 x 9". Blank verso. Fine. Item #24768

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