Chrysalis : Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis Hardback
by Kim Todd
Before Darwin, before Audubon, before Gilbert White, there was Merian.
An artist turned naturalist, known for her botanical illustrations, Maria Sybilla Merian was born in Germany just sixteen years after Galileo proclaimed that the earth orbited the sun.
But at the age of fifty she sailed from Europe to the New World on a solo scientific expedition to study insect metamorphosis - an unheard-of journey for any naturalist at that time, much less an unaccompanied woman.
When she returned she produced a book that secured her reputation, only to have it savaged in the nineteenth century by scientists who disdained the work of 'amateurs'.
Exquisitely written and illustrated, "Chrysalis" takes us from golden-age Amsterdam to the Surinam tropics to modern laboratories where Merian's insights fuel a new branch of biology.
Kim Todd brilliantly brings to life a seventeenth-century woman whose boldness and vision would still be exceptional today and restores her to her rightful position amongst those scientists who have changed the way we view the world.