Mary Emily Eaton

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Plate XIX from The Cactaceae
Ancistrocactus scheeri

Mary Emily Eaton (27 November 1873 Coleford, Gloucestershire, - 4 August 1961 Cossington, Somerset) was an English botanical artist best known for her illustrating of Britton & Rose's "The Cactaceae", published between 1919 and 1923.[1]


She attended private schools in London, and received formal tuition in art at the Taunton School of Art, also attending classes at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, and the Chelsea Polytechnic.

She worked for a time as a painter of Worcester porcelain, before going to Jamaica in 1909 to visit her siblings. She stayed for two years, and began painting detailed studies of butterflies and moths. In June 1911 she left for New York and was to remain there until January 1932, employed by The New York Botanical Garden.

She was principal illustrator for the journal "Addisonia" (see Addison Brown), painting the vast majority of 800 plates and working on the plates and line drawings used in Britton & Rose's "The Cactaceae". Her illustrations also appeared in the National Geographic Magazine.

She was awarded the silver-gilt Grenfelt Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1922. Six hundred of her watercolours are part of the permanent collections of the National Geographic Society, The New York Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution. The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation also has a number of her works.[2]


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