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Collection Name
Fungi: Mary Banning


Natural History Illustrations

Haines, John H.

The extraordinary nineteenth century paintings of mushrooms by Mary Elizabeth Banning (1822-1903) are a blend of science and folk art, scientifically accurate and lovely to look at. Mary Banning was an eccentric and talented mycologist (one who studies fungi) and natural history illustrator active in the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1868 she began to write and illustrate a book on the fungi of Maryland. This project took more than twenty years and resulted in a manuscript of scientific descriptions and amusing stories accompanied by 174 detailed, 13" by 15", watercolor paintings. Among the fungi described in her manuscript are 23 species previously unknown to science and described and published in the "Botanical Gazette" or in Peck's "Annual Report of the New York State Botanist".

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