Scarlet Ibis with an Egg, Maria Sibylla Merian, 1699 - 1700
Maria Sibylla Merian was an artist and a naturalist, a unique combination for a 17th-century woman. In 1699, aged 52 and divorced, she and her youngest daughter sailed to Suriname; this was a dangerous journey for any man, let alone two single women. There she drew all sorts of exotic animals, including this scarlet ibis. Its plumage is brilliant orange red, a colour she recreated with layers of opaque paint.