Skip to main content

Distributed for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Marianne North

A Very Intrepid Painter - Second Edition

With a Foreword by Chris Mills
Marianne North was not ready to settle down. At age forty-one, she found herself alone and uninterested in the domestic trappings of Victorian life. So she packed her paints and set off for North America. Her 1871 trip marked the start of a remarkable life of travel and artistry that would put her among the greatest of the world’s naturalists.

After the death of her beloved father, North made a fearless decision to venture out on her own—something few women dared to do at the time—with a goal of recording as many tropical and exotic plants as possible. Taking a different approach than the botanical artists of the time, which favored solitary plants and soft water colors, North often painted entire landscapes using bold, hearty oil paints. She produced a staggering 833 paintings, nearly all of which are now housed in an eponymous gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter provides an overview of her life and adventures, as well as the history and restoration of her gallery. The beautiful gift book details North’s life and travels, and this new edition’s larger format allows her stunning images to truly shine. It’s a fitting collection for one of the world’s greatest botanical explorers.

112 pages | 300 color plates | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 | © 2016

Art: European Art

Biological Sciences: Botany

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew image

View all books from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


"A modern woman from a not-so-modern time, Marianne North can be much better appreciated today."

Cent Magazine

“This is an exquisite publication with over 800 of Marianne’s beautiful paintings taking the reader on a world tour as we follow this amazing woman on her travels.”

Reckless Gardener

Table of Contents


Part 1 The Marianne North Story
The life of Marianne North
Artistic development
Marianne’s Specimens

Part 2 The Travels 
North America
Economic crops
Essential palms
Fantastic fruits 
Sri Lanka
Sacred plants
Medicinal Plants
New Zealand
Useful plants
South Africa
Jamaica—then and now
Sri Lanka—then and now
Conserving Marianne’s plants

Part 3 The Gallery
A gift the nation
The restoration of a botanical gem
Conserving Marianne’s paintings

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press