For the last six years Christina Hart-Davies has been working on a book called A Wild Plant Year (details below). Today it is officially launched at a large botanical art exhibition of the same name in Hampshire.
Exhibition - A Wild Plant Year
A solo exhibition is a major endeavour - especially when it comprises 234 paintings! All the artwork included in the book can be seen in the exhibition and it's all for sale. There are also more original works by Christina for sale plus books, cards and prints.
I've been a big admirer of her work for a number of years and this major retrospective is a big opportunity for collectors of botanical art!
You can see examples of Christina's work on her website - in terms of Wild Plants, Cultivated Plants, Mosses and Lichens and Monochrome and Line Work for publications
These are the details:
Plus there's the added bonus of an opportunity to visit these delightful gardens!
(Map of the Gardens 513 kB)
NEW Book - A Wild Plant Year
The book is also called A Wild Plant Year and the scope of the book is limited to wild flowers in the UK.
It was described to me by Christina as follows....
a book on wild plants of Britain and their cultural history, folklore, medicinal uses and country names. It's not a botany book or a field identification guide (which I am well used to illustrating), rather a slightly quirky compendium of odd facts about some of our native plants - all illustrated of course.
Christina sent me a copy to review and I was most impressed!
I very much like the way the content is literally organised around the days of the year and the various seasonal festivals. One of the really frustrating aspects of very many books about native plants is that they not organised according to what you can see when! This book fills the gap in the market very nicely.
You can look at this book before you go on walks and know what are the sort of plants you might find at a particular time of year. Or you can consult it when you get home and find out what that plant was that you saw on your travels. (I found the answer to a couple of recent mental queries while reading this book!). However its neat size means that it's small enough to take with you if you have a decent size pocket or bag.
The other vary attractive feature is that some of the double page spreads are devoted to particular habitats - such as the flowers of chalk down lands and those found in cornfields or at the seaside. Plus there is a section on the medicinal and culinary herbs.
I loved the very well written narrative which accompanies each plant. It's brief, succinct and very informative.
I found that as I got into the book I was very soon playing a game with myself to see how many I could remember or already knew about from a childhood which was spent collecting wild flowers some 50+ years ago! I knew many but by no means all and felt enriched after reading this book and well-armed for my next venture into places where wild flowers grow!
Those who like to pursue non-prescription medications for various ills would do well to buy a copy of this book as it highlights the folk remedies associated with various plants. These are of course now being further investigated by the pharmaceutical companies in terms of developing 'new' remedies for old problems!
I especially liked the references back to the herbalists and their links to particular flowers. One example quoted in the book is John Gerard who referred to the wild clematis (Clematis vitalba) in his 1597 Herball as “adorning waies and hedges, where people travel” and hence prompted its common name of "Traveller's Joy"
The illustrations are simple and delightful. The balance between illustrations and text is just right with neither dominating too much. The occasional full page illustration is a delight and I expect these will sell well in the exhibition (see above)!
About Christina Hart-Davies GM
Christina has had a long and distinguished career as a professional botanical artist and illustrator for the last 30 years. In that time she has:
She was a Founder Member and the First Honorary Secretary of the Society of Botanical Artists. She's also been a key player for many years in the design and hanging of the Florum exhibition.
She's had work in very many exhibitions all over the world. Her work is in the collections of The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and The Shirley Sherwood Collection of Contemporary Botanical Art - and mine!
She's very well placed to produce a book as she started her career as a Graphic Designer (with a degree in Typography and Graphic Communication) and was responsible for the design and production of educational books.
As a botanical illustrator, she has also contributed illustrations to a wide range of botanical publications, notably the Collins British Wild Flower Guide. Clients have included BBC Wildlife Magazine; British Wildlife; Crowood Press; Dorling Kindersley;
Eaglemoss Publications; Elm Tree Books; HarperCollins; Michael Joseph;
Kew Magazine; Longman; Macmillan / RHS; New Holland; Pyramid / Octopus;
If you're very lucky you can still get a place on one of the occasional courses and workshops which she tutors!
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-16
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