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Stitching Gorgeous Botanical Needlepoint Kits by Mary Delany

Mary Granville Delany bloomed in her 70s, when she embarked on her life’s work — creating 985 life-size botanical masterpieces inventing a form of paper-cutting or decoupage, which she called her “paper mosaiks” now held by the British Museum.

“I have invented a new way of imitating flowers,” she said. And so her life work began, at age 72. Delany began work on her celebrated Flora Delanica – not a herbarium of dried plants but a florilegium of images of flowers made of tiny pieces of colored cut paper.

Using tissue and papers of all hues and shades, she cut the wafer-thin tissue without any drawings or apparent planning. She pasted the cut-outs of the intricate parts of the flowers collage-fashion onto black paper to create perfect reproductions of living plants. 

Amazingly, these pictures are actually paper mosaics. They are not paintings.

Gardeners and amateur botanists from miles around sent her flowers so she could record their achievements for posterity. Exquisitely beautiful, Delany’s work was also valued for its scientific accuracy.

Mary’s flower collages caught the interest of two neighboring amateur botanists —King George III and his wife, Queen Charlotte- who became her patrons.

They gave her a cottage at Windsor where she lived out her last three years, surrounded by her great-niece Georgina,age 17 (whom she’d raised) and many of the King and Queen’s thirteen children, to whom she taught botany.

We have exclusive access for needlepoint to most of her collection.