Catriona Donnelly ‘Wild Flowers of South Australia – the beautiful botanical illustrations of Fanny Elizabeth de Mole’

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Thursday, 7 September 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Catriona, a curator at National Museum of Australia, will explore the life and art of Fanny de Mole, one of a select group of colonial women botanical illustrators, in de Mole’s “Wild Flowers of South Australia” (1861).

Catriona is a curator in the People and the Environment curatorial team at the National Museum of Australia. She has also worked in the conservation and visitor services teams. Catriona is particularly interested in the botanical collections held in the Museum’s collection and has been considering their significance within the framework of a social history museum. She holds a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) and is currently studying a Masters of Liberal Arts (Museums and Collections) at the Australian National University.

Published in 1861, Wild Flowers of South Australia was the first book published to illustrate the flora of South Australia. On her arrival in Adelaide in 1856 Fanny de Mole was fascinated by the unique plants she found growing near her new home. Her botanical illustrations of 38 species of South Australian plants are spread across 20 hand coloured plates. Fanny de Mole was one of a select group of colonial women creating botanical illustrations of Australian flora in the 19th century. This rare book demonstrates both her artistic talent and her scientific knowledge of plants despite her modest description of the book as simply a ‘Book of Flowers’. Join Catriona Donnelly, curator at the National Museum of Australia, to hear about the significance of this rare book and the tragic life of its creator.