Mary Ward (1827-1869) was encouraged to nurture her love of nature from a young age. Born into to a renowned scientific family in Co. Offaly, Ireland, she was educated at home with her sisters and by the age of three had developed a penchant for collecting bugs.
These insects became the subject of study for Mary, and with the help of a magnifying glass she began meticulously drawing and reproducing their details. By a stroke of luck, astronomer James South discovered the drawings, and was so impressed with her talent that he persuaded her father to invest in a microscope.
This opportunity was a turning point in Mary's life. Owning her own microscope allowed her to transform her love of insects into full-blown, self-taught microscopy. She spent her time reading everything she could get her hands on regarding the subject, and became so skilled that her knowledge surpassed that of most experts. Over the years she wrote a series of books, of which A World of Wonders Revealed by the Microscope (1858) was reprinted eight times. It became a go-to student text in the field of microscopy, which considering her sex, is truly representative of her talent.
Further distinctions include her work as an illustrator for scientific publications, and her significant status as one of just three female recipients of the Royal Astronomical Society's newsletter (of the other two women, one was Queen Victoria).
True to her love of scale, this pattern blends late-Georgian silhouettes with over-sized insects; an entomologist's dream.