Mary Delany

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Mary Delany (14 May 1700–15 April 1788) was an English Bluestocking, artist, and letter-writer; equally famous for her "paper-mosaics" and her lively correspondence.

In 1771, Mary began to create cut out paper artworks (decoupage) as was the fashion for ladies of the court. Her works were exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants. She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces. She created 1,700 of these works, calling them her "Paper Mosaics", from the age of 71 to 88 when her eyesight failed her. During this time, Mary made nearly 1,000 of the paper flowers.

With the plant specimen set before her she cut minute particles of coloured paper to represent the petals, stamens, calyx, leaves, veins, stalk and other parts of the plant, and, using lighter and darker paper to form the shading, she stuck them on a black background. By placing one piece of paper upon another she sometimes built up several layers and in a complete picture there might be hundreds of pieces to form one plant. It is thought she first dissected each plant so that she might examine it carefully for accurate portrayal.
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Suzan Hamer

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