Illustrations. Malcy de Chazal. Photos. Anne-Lise Ramooloo.
Between 1820 and 1870, the Mauritian artist Malcy de Chazal-Moon documented the floral diversity of Mauritius and the Mascarene Islands through a series of watercolour paintings. Her illustrations have recently been compiled into the book ‘Nature, art et sciences’, published this year. As a sponsor of this publication, Rogers wished to add value to Malcy’s remarkable work by visiting Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam botanical garden in Pamplemousses.
There are abundant treasures in Mauritius. Obviously, there are the mythical ones – the products of tales about pirates, which require a level of dexterity from those who wish to discover them some day. Then there are others that are accessible to us and whose roots dig deep in our history: endemic and indigenous plants. More than 300 species exist today, two thirds of which are threatened by extinction. Since the discovery of Mauritius, its flora has captivated botanists, travellers, healers and nature lovers. Malcy de Chazal-Moon belongs in this last category. This 19th-century Mauritian is the ancestor of the legendary artist Malcom de Chazal.
In 2016, the Blue Penny Museum exposed the watercolour paintings of Malcy de Chazal-Moon, who has spent her whole life following naturalists and scientists during research on endemic plants in Mauritius and the Mascarene Islands. Shortly afterwards, her works, drawn, then painted with watercolour, were published in Nature, art et sciences, sponsored by Rogers.
The botanical gardens of the island, real havens of peace and ideal sites to discover indigenous and endemic beauty, are rich in those botanical wonders. With the century-old illustrations of Malcy de Chazal-Moon in hand, we escaped into the very heart of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam botanical garden in Pamplemousses, on a quest to discover some of those plants that are unique to Mauritius and its region.