S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Dixie, Miss Ethel May (botanical illustration)

Born: 9 May 1876, Cape Town, South Africa.
Died: 11 October 1973, Cape Town, South Africa.

Ethel May Dixie, a self-taught botanical illustrator, was the principal artist for the beautifully illustrated work The flora of South Africa (Cape Town, 4 vols, 1913-1932) by Professor H.W. Rudolf Marloth*. Many of the original plates for this work were destroyed by a fire at the publisher. She was also a lecturer at the Cape Town School of Art. A folio of four of her paintings was later published as Wild flowers of the Cape of Good Hope (with Professor R.H. Compton; Cape Town, 1953). Two further folios of her prints were published privately during the nineteen-nineties. She kept a master set of four volumes of paintings, from which she made copies as required. Many of her paintings went to Museum Africa in Johannesburg. Others can be found in the Brenthurst Library, Johannesburg, the Carnegie Library archives at the University of Stellenbosch, the National Botanical Institutes in Cape Town and Pretoria, various South African embassies, and in private collections. Her style was characterised by minute accuracy and a delicacy of treatment which is typical of the best botanical artists.

List of sources:

Arader Galleries, at http://www.aradergalleries.com Search for Dixie.

Ethel May Dixie. In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

Compiled by: C. Plug