Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2013. Octavo, paperback, colour illustrations.
Around 1870, Ferdinand von Mueller, the greatest Australian botanist of the nineteenth century, began to advertise in several newspapers across Australia for ‘lady’ plant collectors. Of Mueller’s astounding 3,000-strong network of collectors (which he maintained through between 2,000 and 6,000 letters a year), only about ten per cent were women. However, this was at a time when women typically had little recourse to science, or contact with men outside their circle of friends, making Mueller’s network of ladies quite extraordinary. Collecting Ladies profiles 14 of Mueller’s coterie of women collectors. Included are Fanny Charsley, Louisa Atkinson, Annie Walker and Ellis Rowan for whom Mueller made time to assist in pursuit of their own passions. He identified the plants they painted and provided letters of introduction to publishers and scientists. Together, these ladies produced some of the most beautiful books and botanical art to come out of Australia in the nineteenth century, covering all the Australian colonies. Author Penny Olsen provides a lively portrait of each woman featured in Collecting Ladies, beautifully complemented with photographs, drawings and paintings in full colour, the majority drawn from the National Library of Australia collections.
Price: $50.00 AU