Mary Delany’s Paper Botanicals

Botanical artwork by Mary Delany
Detail of a paper collage by Mary Delany (Passiflora laurifolia)

The Life of Mary Delany (1700-1788):

As a young woman of 17, Mary was forced into an unhappy marriage with a man of 60. The marriage did not last long before her husband died, but her husband had left her no inheritance in his will. In spite of this challenge, widowhood suited Mary and she flourished socially, intellectually, and artistically. She was able to stay with wealthy friends and meet many notable names of her time. When she was in her forties she married again, but this time the marriage was a happy one and lasted 25 years before her second husband died.

Mary Delany’s Art

Mary was a keen gardener and adept at needlework, drawing and painting. But it was as a second-time widow in her 70s that Mary began to create the decoupage botanical works for which she is most often celebrated. Over the next 17 years, she created 985 detailed and highly accurate plant “mosaics.”


Below is my pinterest board for Mary Delany. If you hover and scroll, you’ll find many images of her beautiful work.


“The Paper Garden:
Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72”
by Molly Peacock


Mary Delany’s Paper Botanicals
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