Marguerite Maury was the legendary pioneer of aromatherapy. Her husband, Dr E A Maury wrote that: ‘She had a scientific curiosity towards research which was little known, if not ridiculed by the great minds of the day. She subsequently gained indisputable fame through her pioneering qualities.’

Marguerite Maury was born in Austria in 1895 and brought up in Vienna. Her first husband was killed in the First World War and she lost both her father and young son. Her father was a well known intellectual and supporter of the artist, Gustav Klimt. Marguerite obtained a degree in nursing and for a surgical assistant (the highest a woman could attain in that area at the time). While she was working with a surgeon in Alsace she read a book: Les Grandes Possibilitiès par les Matières Odoriferantes, by Dr Chabenes (published in 1835). The author later taught R.M. Gattefossé, one of the founders of aromatherapy. The book became Marguerite Maury’s Bible.

Marguerite Maury the pioneer of aromatherapy Marguerite met Dr Maury and they shared the same love of music, art, literature and above all their aim was to aim to heal through alternative ways. Living in France, they explored homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy and radiesthesia. They formed a remarkable team working, researching and writing books together. It was at this time that Marguerite developed her research work to demonstrate and prove the effects of essential oils on the nervous system, their influence on the well being of people.

Through her years of research and practical application, she discovered the value of the active zone aromatic particles and recorded the effects with scientific probity.

She lectured and gave seminars on the subject throughout Europe and opened aromatherapy clinics in Paris, Switzerland and England. It was in Paris we first met and I came to work with her, then moving to work in the London clinic.

I was privileged to be the spiritual child, pupil and disciple of Marguerite Maury. She inspired and changed my life. I have continued her work for over 30 years. She possessed some of the eccentricities of genius, but she was also one of the most generous and loveable of women, a magnetic and charismatic person. She was a veritable whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm, working ceaselessly until quite literally she died on the 25th September 1968.

Her last manuscript was found beside her bed. It began: ‘The aromatherapy involved in cosmetology can lead to the most extraordinary of results.’

I felt very deeply the loss of my mentor and suddenly all the responsibilities fell on my shoulders. I hope I have carried on her work as she would have wished. I think of her and appreciate her every day.