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Etching 34  Ancient forest  from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by C. Miranda Chor

#34 Ancient forest near Pedra da Onca, an estate in the province of Sebastianopolis, the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Latin translation by Ben Hennelly

This etching is owed to Benjamin Mary's skill. Since he provided such extraordinary service in the physiognomic drawing of Brazil's plant life, it seems that it can, with perfect justice, be asked of my extremely grateful spirit that we honor the living memory of the man where the opportunity has been given. Born at Enghien in Belgium in 1792, he enjoyed the intimacy of his uncle Joseph Parmentier, whose name was most highly celebrated among garden cultivators throughout Europe, for his outstanding plantings in magnificent pleasure-gardens. And so, the marvels of foreign plants were presented to him already as a boy. Further, beneficent nature had given him a singular ability to depict, very quickly and in extremely accurate drawings, various plants and their particular natural character; from here arose his mature desire to travel through the remote lands of the globe. Nor did opportunity fail his wish, since he was sent by Belgium as an ambassador to Brazil. He cast off on 12 December 1833 from the port of Falmouth, and landed at Rio de Janeiro on 10 February 1834. He negotiated the first commercial agreement between Brazil and his fatherland, and was decorated for this reason by Emperor Peter II with the insignia of the Southern Cross. On 5 April 1838, he set out from the new world for Athens, here too a guardian of public affairs in a court newly established.

After he had given his dutiful services to the two realms for eight years, he went, to strengthen his health, to the waters of Bagneres de Luchon in the Pyrenees, but succumbed there to a premature death on August 2, 1846, which brought bitter grief to both his fellow citizens and his friends.


Etching commentary #34