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Margaret Mee's Amazon.

Margaret Mee's Amazon by Margaret Mee, Antique Collectors' Club, hb, pp300, 29.50 [pounds sterling]

As a young woman growing up in Buckinghamshire during the 1920s and '30s, Margaret Mee was captivated by travel writers' tales. After training as an artist under Victor Pasmore in London, she was inspired by these same stories to stretch her wings and travel with her husband to Brazil in 1952. Between then and her death in 1988, Mee made numerous excursions into the Amazon Basin, some of which lasted as long as four months. There she documented the diverse plant life--on occasion even discovering new species herself.

During these expeditions, she kept detailed diaries and produced reams of delicate gouache paintings of the region's botanical splendours. Margaret Mee's Amazon is a collection of these diaries, and within its pages you will find ample demonstration of this remarkable woman's superlative skill, dedication and love of her subject.

Mee's early love of travellers' tales is reflected in her own evocative writing style. Not only does she write lyrically and expressively, but she relates some pretty gripping subject matter, from battling with vampire bats in her bedroom in the Alto Rio Negro to falling into piranha-infested waters. But it's her paintings and drawings that make this book truly enchanting, and they are beautifully reproduced beside her photographs and animal drawings by the 18th-century artist Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira. Octavia Lamb

The Antique Collectors' Club is delighted to offer Geographical readers the opportunity to buy Margaret Mee's Amazon at the reduced price of 25 [pounds sterling] (including UK p&p). To order a copy, call 01394 389 977 and quote reference: Geographical

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Author:Lamb, Octavia
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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