Inside the Marianne North Gallery at Kew
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Marianne North Gallery

Marianne North was a remarkable Victorian artist with a great eye for botanical detail. In this extraordinary gallery, you can see 833 of her paintings displayed in geographical order, which she hung after travelling around the world.

About the Marianne North Gallery

The walls of the gallery are covered with almost all of Marianne North's botanical paintings. 

After an exhibition in London in 1879, North had the idea of showing her paintings at Kew. She offered to build a gallery if Kew Director, Joseph Hooker, would agree to display her life’s work in it. 

The gallery opened in 1882, built in a mix of classical and colonial styles. North had wanted tea and coffee served to visitors, however Hooker declined her request. Instead she painted a coffee plant over one entrance door and tea over the other.


Marianne North Gallery

Visiting the gallery

Location
The Marianne North Gallery is next to Kew Explorer Stop 2, near the Temperate House and Pavilion Restaurant.

Price
Included with entry to the Gardens.

Opening times
Open daily from 10am.
29 October to 20 November 2017 gallery closes at 3.45pm (last admission 3.30pm).
21 November 2017 to 1 January 2018 gallery closes at 3pm (last admission 2.45pm).
 
Please check our visitor notices for any short-term closures


About Marianne North (1830–1890)

Marianne North was an unmarried Victorian woman of comfortable means. Following the death of her father (in 1871) she set off on a series of trips to make a pictorial record of the tropical and exotic plants of the world.

She travelled to areas that the 'establishment' thought she shouldn't visit and it was this independence of spirit that made her journeys one of the most reported subjects in the British newspapers of the period.

North had no formal training in illustration but possessed a natural talent and was very prolific. Painting with a palette of bold colours, she sketched rapidly in pen and ink on heavy paper then used oils straight from the tube.

Unlike the tradition in Victorian flower painting, she liked to paint plants in their natural settings.



Restoration

A £1.8 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant and additional donations allowed for the restoration of the building and the conservation of the artwork in 2008.

During the project a conservator discovered a painting hidden on the back of another painting. It had not been seen for over 120 years, since North covered it with a backing board.

Maria Devaney (Gallery and Exhibitions Leader) talks about Marianne North on BBC News online


Marianne North Gallery exterior

The Marianne North Gallery


DVD, book and prints

DVD: The Remarkable Miss North

The Remarkable Miss North, presented by Emilia Fox, reveals the story of Marianne North, one of the most prolific botanical artists of the Victorian age.

Buy the DVD online

DVD cover for The Remarkable Miss North

Gift book: Marianne North – A Very Intrepid Painter

This beautiful gift book details North’s life and travels, and this new edition’s larger format allows her stunning images to truly shine.

Buy the book online 

Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter book

Marianne North prints

Choose from one hundred of Marianne North's botanical artworks. Art prints, framed pictures, canvas and perspex in a variety of sizes.

Buy prints online

No.47 Flowers of Datura and Humming Bird, Brazil. Marianne North