Katherine Plymley’s remarkable watercolours

Katherine Plymley was a painter of watercolours focusing mainly on insects. Katherine was 21 years old when her mother died in 1779 and herfather was already 63 years old. Katherine gave up any chance of marriage to look after him.

An image of a watercolour by Katherine Plymley. One of many watercolours by Plymley, this one features butterflies and caterpillars on the leaves of a plant.

Watercolour by Katherine Plymley

Unmarried and in her 40’s Katherine began studying and painting remarkable watercolours of insects.  Several prominent male entomologists of her time corresponded with her but it was not until her archive was placed on loan with Shropshire Museums and Archives in 1997 that the value of her research was fully appreciated.

Katherine Plymley’s memorial states that “They were women of superior minds which they had educated with great industry and devoted to the service of God. Of their fellow creatures, no persons, perhaps, of equal means, ever contributed more to the comfort of their nearer relatives, or the wants of an extended neighbourhood.”



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