Note the difference (circled) between Maria Sibylla Merian's original painting of Surinam wildlife, as reproduced on the postage stamp, and the engraved copy produced in 1795 to its left.


The later work is titled "Bromelia, Plate 1, The Ananas Pine-Apple-Plant" with the attribution "London, Published as the Act directs October 3, 1795 by J. Wilkes". This reproduction may have been part of a scientific study requested and/or funded by an act of government -- similar works have been published in the United States by Acts of Congress -- or the "Act" refered to may be an early form of copyright.

Why was the insect so prominently featured at the top center of Merian's painting, omitted from the copy?


An enlargement (110K) and detail of the London copy can be seen here.

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