(Alpinia Zerumbet with Butterflies)

Marian Ellis Rowan

(Alpinia Zerumbet with Butterflies) by Marian Ellis Rowan


Marian Ellis Rowan
(Alpinia Zerumbet with Butterflies)
watercolour and gouache on paper
41 x 22.5 cm

signed lower left: Ellis Rowan

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Private collection, Melbourne

Further Information

Marian Ellis Rowan (1848 - 1922) was a remarkable woman, who blurred the lines between fine art and natural history illustration with artworks characterised not only by their detailed accuracy but also her own compositional charm and touches of dramatic interest, such as the inclusion of insects, adding more life, narrative interest and sense of scale. This artwork is indicative of her later style inspired by the lush tropical flora of Queensland and Papua New Guinea, where the vivid colour of the flowers fill the entire page. Alpinia zerumbet is also known as shell ginger and is native to a jungle environment with lush tropical foliage and cascades of shell-like flowers. This celebrated and prolific artist with her reputation for painting wildflowers is represented in many public collections including significant holdings at the National Library of Australia and the Queensland Museum; as well as the National Gallery of Australia; the National Gallery of Victoria; the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art; the Art Gallery of Western Australia; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Adelaide; the National Herbarium, Melbourne; the National Trust of Australia; the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

With thanks to the staff at Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne for expert advice regarding identification.

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