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Unturned Leaves Early Women in Botanical Illustration

M.F. Lewis

Almost nothing is known about M.F. Lewis beyond her meticulous and accurately identified watercolors of fungi. A devoted amateur naturalist, Lewis spent over 40 years illustrating the fungi that grew in her native Ludlow, Shropshire, and other parts of England and Wales. It does not appear that she ever published her work; however, she was known to various mycological and horticultural societies and is mentioned – briefly – in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society and the records of the British Mycological Society, among others. Lewis’ illustrations stand as a record of fungal diversity in an area that saw few scientific visits. Mann Library holds three volumes of Lewis’ original watercolors, illustrating over two hundred species.