The Merian dynasty of artists really began in Switzerland with Johanna Helena Herolt's grandfather, Matthäus Merian the Elder (d. 1650), a renowned engraver and publisher who married into the equally talented de Bry family of Frankfurt artist-printers. Herolt's mother was only four years of age when her father died, but with encouragement from step-father artist, Jacob Moreel, Maria Sibylla Merian [link] pursued a highly successful career in Europe and South America as an artist-scientist. She married (and later divorced) German portraitist and still life artist, Johann Andreas Graff (d. 1701),
Maria Sibylla Merian produced ground-breaking depictions of insect life cycles with associated plants, and her two daughters (including Johanna Helena Herolt, née Graaf) were intimately involved in the design, engraving and colouring of her mother's book illustrations. Herolt's other principal claim to fame was her hand-colouring contributions to the exceptional series on Amsterdam's botanical gardens, the Commelins' 'Horti Medici Amstelodamensis' [link], 1697.
"Johanna Helena Herolt, born in Frankfurt, Germany, was the eldest daughter of painter, draftsman, and engraver Johann Andreas Graff (1637-1701), and well-known insect and botanical painter and nature researcher Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). Along with her sister, Dorothea Maria Graff (1678-1743), Johanna Helena learned to paint from her renowned mother and father.
Dr. Sam Segal [..] writes:
“Johanna Helena Herolt is, or was until recently, an underestimated artist, who had been working closely with her famous mother. She assisted her already ill mother during her last years by finishing works, sometimes signed by both. Johanna married the merchant Jacob Hendrik Herolt from Bacharach (Germany) in 1692. She went to Surinam, with her husband, in 1711 where she did what her mother had done before: collecting and drawing flowers and insects. She died after 1723, possibly in Surinam.” "[source]
- The Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Brunswick own a collection of botanical/entomological prints attributed to Johanna Helena Herolt : 50 images are hosted online at the Lower Saxony Heritage portal.
- The British Museum hosts a further dozen images featuring Herolt's input.
- *Maria Sibylla Merian & Daughters: Women of Art and Science* - Getty Center exhibition overview from 2008.
- Johanna Helena Graaf-Herolt at Wikipedia.
- Huygens ING: Graff, Johanna Helena (1668-na 1723) [Dutch] -- [translation]
- 'Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters: Women of Art and Science' 2008 by Ella Reitsma --- I saw a review article of this book by Martha Moffitt Peacock IN: Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (FALL / WINTER 2010), pp. 65-67 -- thanks Karla.
- Oak Spring Garden Library: *Digitizing Project: Seven botanical watercolor and bodycolor drawings*.
- *Amsterdam’s Hortus Medicus and the Commelins*.
- Wikipedia: Matthäus Merian the Elder -- Maria Sibylla Merian --
- Previously on BibliOdyssey: Maria Sibylla Merian & Matthäus Merian (Elder & Younger)
- The Sci-Art Pedigree post first appeared on the BiliOdyssey website.