Today (Friday 30th June 2017) marks 200 years since the birth of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century.
From Halesworth to the Himalayas: A Legacy of Reality - a botanical art exhibition to mark the bicentenary of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker - opens tomorrow in Halesworth in Suffolk. The main focus of the exhibition is paintings and drawings by contemporary botanical artists of plants discovered by and named after Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker.
This exhibition is:
About Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
There are a number of events and exhibitions this year to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the famous 19th century botanist and explorer, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker OM GCSI CB PRS
Hooker sketched and coloured his drawings, produced on his travels, and sent them back to Kew to be painted by Walter Hood Fitch, whom Hooker had trained in botanical drawing. His discoveries have influenced the plants we have in our gardens today.
About the exhibition
The botanical illustrations and paintings in the exhibition, discovered by and named after Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (see examples in this post), are by Chelsea School of Botanical Art’s alumni (Amicus Botanicus), all of which will be for sale. Other botanical paintings will also be for sale
The exhibition will also include a demonstration of the process of creating a botanical painting through the coursework and projects of former and current students of Chelsea School of Botanical Art.
The National Trust Heritage Award for Events and Publications in 2017 went to historian Colleen Morris and The Florilegium Society at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for Florilegium: Sydney’s Painted Garden held at the Museum of Sydney in 2016.
“The work of historian Colleen Morris is world class. Painted Garden was a complete triumph in terms of the contemporary botanical artworks it collected and then donated to our permanent collection. The other exciting aspect is that we are now working to put on a significant exhibition of a similar nature at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in 2018.”
A post visit survey conducted at the Museum of Sydney demonstrated that “Florilegium: Sydney’s painted garden” was highly regarded by visitors.
To my mind, the page devoted to the award provides a benchmark of good practice for all botanical art exhibitions of this type in terms of criteria for assessing content and value.
Those in the UK will be able to see for themselves when the exhibition comes to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens in 2018.
About the project teams
Worked on the project:
SLM Exhibition Project Team –
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About the National Heritage Awards
The National Trust Heritage Awards are the signature event of the Australian Heritage Festival and are now in their 23rd year of recognising heritage projects.
To view all the finalists and award recipients please visit the 2017 winner page here.
The 2017 BISCOT Exhibition has now moved to the John Hope Gateway Building at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinbugh and is on display there until 22nd of June.
Below you can see a photo of Fran Thomas with the Mary Mendum Medal awarded for the Best Exhibit - of her watercolour paintings (behind her) of "Native plants of the coasts and islands of the Firth of Forth" - which also won a Gold Medal.
Below you can see a slideshow of the exhibits winning Gold and Silver Gilt for Billy Showell, Fran Thomas, Jenny Haslimeier (New Zealand) and Lyn Campbell.
Read more about the artists in my previous post Botanical Images Scotia (BISCOT) 2017 - Medal Winners
Note: all pics copyright the artists - please do not copy. I've got permission from BISCOT to reproduce them in this blog post
PUT YOUR CURSOR TOP LEFT OF THE PIC BELOW TO GET THE START ARROW
J.R. Shepherd had an extremely successful solo exhibition called Leafscape at Abbott & Holder in Bloomsbury, London in February 2017.
I asked Jess for an interview because I wanted to try and convey the pathway to a virtually sold out exhibition in central London, how it all happened and everything that led up to it.
This is a very long read - but reading it will hopefully be very helpful for all those who aim to become a professional botanical artist and have a sell-out solo show!
I met with Jess (as I know her) after the exhibition closed - but before it was taken down - for an interview (see below)
You can see my video of the exhibition below. It's a slow pan round the two rooms at the top of Abbott and Holder where the exhibition was held. You can see Jess in the video. All wobbles and creaks are down to my handheld videoing technique.
Note the red spots!
The Leafscape project
The reason I asked for the interview is that I was enormously intrigued by the fact that this wasn’t just an exhibition. It was an exhibition with a lot of added extras.
Leafscape was an absolutely HUGE project that Jess managed on her own. She had to:
Moreover it was also very successful i.e.
I was so overwhelmed after hearing about how far some of your had travelled to see the leaves. I had visitors from New Zealand, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, America and Australia. Some of you had driven miles in the storms, all the way from Scotland. It was utterly amazing seeing everyone in such a short space of time and to be able to listen to your stories and talk about botanical art and where it is going. I was visited by the second year students who are studying at the Chelsea School of Botanical Art and gave them a quick talk and then RHS weekend was a real buzz. I was lucky enough to see Rory's daughter, Samantha McEwen and eminent artists such as Rob Kesseler, Martin Sexton and Boyd and Evans and then Rachel de Thame popped with her daughter. Talk about a thrilling experience!
So who is this person who achieved so much - and how did it all happen?
I have a serious botanical art book addiction. There's nothing nicer than getting stuck into an hour or more of browsing through what's on offer from vintage booksellers with a good collection of botanical art books.
Well nothing nicer than the book you bought turning up and being so much better than you were expecting! There's something about books produced in the past which yells "quality" and if you've got a "very good" or "as new" version then I'm in heaven.
However what's better still is the fact that botanical art book owners tend to be very nice people - and they pass on extras in their books that they don't tell you about until you get them.
Which is how I come to be the owner of some seriously archival class documents about Mary Grierson (1912-2012) (who I currently have listed on the 20th Century Botanical Artists page on the website) when I purchased a copy of her book An English Florilegium
The image at the top of the page is of the exhibition catalogues for three solo exhibitions - which probably each deserve a blog post in their own right!
They are- from left to right:
Of late I've become seriously appreciative of catalogues from exhibitions of botanical art. They tell you so much about the scope and nature of the art but also details of the artist which often never reaches formal publication in a book. For the serious student of botanical art, I'd very much recommend paying serious attention to exhibition catalogues.
You might also like to think about you and your work are recorded in solo exhibitions - for posterity and future collectors!
About Mary Grierson (1912-2012)
Mary Grierson in brief:
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Note: Spink is Spink & Son Ltd who at the time were located at 5 King Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6QS. They are now located at 69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 4ET. However, the gallery which sold botanical art closed just after the turn of the millennium.
Celebrating a renovated Garden Museum
Tradescants’ Orchard: A Celebration of Botanical Art will be the first exhibition in the brand new exhibition space in the renovated Garden Museum (which has been closed for a major redevelopment in the past year).
The garden at the Museum re-opens on 22nd May. However the opening date for the exhibition is still not confirmed - but will be on display at between late May and September (opening date to be finalised)
The Tradescants' Orchard is a contemporary exhibition comprising watercolours by fifty eminent botanical artists is to be staged alongside a display of ‘The Tradescants’ Orchard’, a seventeenth-century volume of sixty-six watercolours depicting fruit varieties that John Tradescant and his son might have grown in their market garden at Lambeth.
Hence, the exhibition has two parts:
The Tradescants' Orchard
The Tradescants' Orchard is a practical document that records the size, colour and texture of fruit with their ripening dates.
The BISCOT organisers will be responsible ONLY for ensuring that the articles are collected by, or in exceptional circumstances, delivered locally to the courier/carrier.
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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