The "British Artists in the Shirley Sherwood Collection" exhibition at The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens finishes on 17th September 2017. If you haven't been to see it yet I strongly recommend you do so as it includes some iconic work by British Botanical Artists.
I've now seen the exhibition four times and it might seem a bit odd to be doing a review so late in the day, except I've already written about it in:
Since I wrote these, the Gallery has also included British Artists in the Shirley Sherwood Collection.pdf (PDF)on the website - which I urge everybody to download as this is the ONLY formal record of this exhibition (there is no catalogue). It also includes thumbnails of all the paintings in the exhibition.
It has not been possible to hang more than a small proportion of ‘my’ British artists here as I now have 330 works by 86 painters and so I have had to be fiercely selective.
On my last visit I took my time and went round very slowly, looking at the artwork closely. I found that I began to detect themes within the collection which I had missed earlier.
In a way it's a story of a collection, a collector and the development of botanical art in the UK over more than a quarter of a century of collecting.
Hence this post is going to be something of a timeline or retrospective of the collection which started in 1990.
There are three botanical artists in the exhibition who have an artwork on display which was acquired or commissioned in every decade to date. They are Brigid Edwards, Coral Guest and Rory McEwen - who are all members of the small group of what Dr Sherwood refers to as her 'core artists'.
It's going to be interspersed with comments from Dr Sherwood and listings of the artists whose work is featured in each decade. In relation to dates
All quotations are by Shirley Sherwood (from the pdf record of the exhibition) unless otherwise indicated.
WARNING - THIS IS A VERY LONG POST. I suggest you find a comfy place to sit now and if you like finding out about botanical art and artists then you may be some time reading it!
The First Decade 1990-1999
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation has made some of its collection available online via a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture. This will be of great interest to those (like me) who are enthusiastic about the history of botanical art.
The Foundation was created by Bunny Mellon who was one of the richest women in the world and who died in 2014 age 103. (Learn more about Bunny Mellon)
Oak Spring Farm was the former home of the Mellons and comprised a 4,000-acre estate, in Upperville, Virginia. The farm has now been sold along with other items from her estate
However, her prized collection of books, manuscripts and art on plants, gardens, and landscapes is now housed in The Oak Spring Garden Library within a 263-acre estate which helps to perpetuate her memory.
Oak Spring Garden Foundation on Google Arts & Culture
OSGF is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating scholarship and public dialogue on the history and future of plants, including the culture of gardens and landscapes and the importance of plants for human well-being.
The display on the Oak Spring Garden Foundation Page on Google Arts & Culture includes:
The first video Women Botanical Artists includes:
Women Artists Part 2 covers:
Research at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation
Beginning in January 2018 we are able to offer free overnight accommodation on the Oak Spring estate for bona fide scholars wishing to study material in the Oak Spring Garden Library collections. Since we are only able to accommodate a limited number of scholars at any given time, we will probably need to prioritize our visitors based on timing and topics.
If you'd like to visit, you can find the Oak Spring Garden Foundation at 1776 Loughborough Lane, Upperville, VA 20184, USA.
You need to send a brief proposal
The Artist & the Botanical Collector: the Lost Works of Lovegrove & Bäuerlen - opens at the Museum of Sydney on 13 August 2016 until 20 November 2016.
The Artist & the Botanical Collector explores the partnership between
Part 1 of the book Wildflowers of New South Wales by William Baeuerlen and Gertrude Lovegrove was published in Sydney by Angus & Robertson in January 1891. However it was only 12 pages long.
The link in the title of the book (and the image) is to the digitised version of the book in the Digital Collection of the National Library of Australia
It has been intended that The Wild Flowers of New South Wales it would comprise 25 parts, part 1 of was published in Sydney. However further parts never came to fruition and there are now only a handful of copies of the first part are known to be held in Australian public collections.
The exhibition will feature
NOTE: A substantial part of Bäuerlen's collections are held at:
Links: Encyclopedia of Australian Science - Biographical Entry: Baeuerlen, William (1840 - 1917)
Visit the Exhibition:
Where: Museum of Sydney on the site of first Government House (Cnr Bridge and Phillip streets, Sydney)
Admission: Free with Museum of Sydney entry (Adult $10 | Concession/child (under 15) $5 | Family $20 | Members free)
Transport: Public transport recommended. Museum of Sydney is one block back from Circular Quay which is serviced by trains, buses and ferries.
More Botanical Art Exhibitions in Australia
You can see more about other botanical art exhibitions in Australia on this page on this website Botanical Art Exhibitions in Australia and New Zealand
There are two upcoming exhibition tours of the Brazil – a powerhouse of plants, Margaret Mee and her legacy exhibition with Dr Sherwood on
Event details: The tour will last a maximum of 45 mins
Venue: Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens, however booking is essential.
To book a place on a tour please email email@example.com or call us on 020 8332 3622.
If you're wondering where the page for the second tour is, there isn't one as yet. However the Gallery Manager of the The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art sent me both dates so you can be assured both are "definite".
The image above is of Dr Sherwood at the Preview. She's standing next to Philodendron painted with the background of the Amazon Forest. Margaret Mee painted the forest as a background towards the end of her life during her campaign to save it from destruction by the loggers.
You can find out more about:
The Lindley Library at the headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society specialises in botanical art and garden history. The botanical art collection of the Lindley Library is the home of the artwork purchased from artists displaying at the RHS Botanical Art Show - as well as many treasures produced by artists in the past.
It is often a place of reference for botanical artists wanting to find out more about a topic they are interested in.
However, anybody wanting to pay a visit to the Lindley Library this winter - or during the RHS Botanical Art Show in February - will need to have a rethink as it will be closed.
The RHS have announced the arrangements for the temporary closure of the Lindley Library while they undertake a major refurbishment project. All the botanical art has been packed up and sent off to safe and secure storage!
You can find details of the arrangements and dates online in Lindley Library closure winter 2015/16 (pdf file)
The works include:
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
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